Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

“This is a book about food, but it's really a book about love.” This book is truly about love. We MUST not lose our love or our gratitude for the foods we eat and the people that do everything they can to keep that food from disappearing. If you have no idea what or how important biodiversity is, you will after this book. Sethi turns a seemingly difficult subject to wrap your head around into something you're striving to know more about. —Lacey

— From Lacey's Picks


Award-winning journalist Simran Sethi explores the history and cultural importance of our most beloved tastes, paying homage to the ingredients that give us daily pleasure, while providing a thoughtful wake-up call to the homogenization that is threatening the diversity of our food supply.

Food is one of the greatest pleasures of human life. Our response to sweet, salty, bitter, or sour is deeply personal, combining our individual biological characteristics, personal preferences, and emotional connections. Bread, Wine, Chocolate illuminates not only what it means to recognize the importance of the foods we love, but also what it means to lose them. Award-winning journalist Simran Sethi reveals how the foods we enjoy are endangered by genetic erosion—a slow and steady loss of diversity in what we grow and eat. In America today, food often looks and tastes the same, whether at a San Francisco farmers market or at a Midwestern potluck. Shockingly, 95% of the world’s calories now come from only thirty species. Though supermarkets seem to be stocked with endless options, the differences between products are superficial, primarily in flavor and brand.

Sethi draws on interviews with scientists, farmers, chefs, vintners, beer brewers, coffee roasters and others with firsthand knowledge of our food to reveal the multiple and interconnected reasons for this loss, and its consequences for our health, traditions, and culture. She travels to Ethiopian coffee forests, British yeast culture labs, and Ecuadoran cocoa plantations collecting fascinating stories that will inspire readers to eat more consciously and purposefully, better understand familiar and new foods, and learn what it takes to save the tastes that connect us with the world around us.

Praise For…

“[Simran Sethi] looks at ways in which monoculture and an increasingly standardized global diet put food systems in peril and leave crops vulnerable to blight and climate change.”

“In Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love, Sethi describes how, in recent years, environmental and economic forces have decreased biodiversity and threatened the existence of some of our favorite foods and beverages.”

“Our tables … are never really of, or for, one, as Sethi elegantly shows us.”

“Bread, wine, chocolate-three things many of us refuse to live without. But, as Simran Sethi tells us in her new book, Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love, we might have to.”

“Read this wonderful book and you will become immersed in the intricate worlds of no less than six (delicious) foods and drinks. It is about our relationships with the life forms that sustain us—and how we might learn to approach those relationships with far more love, compassion, and good taste.”

“Simran Sethi’s passionate book on food and biodiversity reminds us how healing food can be. The world is on our plate.”

“A powerful reminder that we can eat in ways that don’t cause damage to the planet or its poorest people--and that can delight us, not just fill us up. Don’t read it on an empty stomach!”

“A passionate plea to save and restore the things most precious about our food—its myriad flavors and its connection with nature. As global economic forces slowly squeeze the uniqueness out of what we eat, Simran Sethi explores the delicate culinary delights that offer hope, and deliciousness, for the future.”

“A stirring call to arms for anyone who loves food!”

“Should be required reading for culinary students, journalists, scholars and citizens who care about what they put into their mouths and what we’re doing to Mother Earth. Sethi is the kind of writer who can coat the bitter pill in honey and we all just swallow and say thank you.”

“In this illuminating and impactful book, Simran Sethi sheds light on the dwindling diversity of our diets and our landscapes through the stories of our most beloved tastes. Bread, Wine, Chocolate calls on all of us to cherish—and thus preserve—the world’s endangered flavors.”

“Read this and you will understand that cuisine is how we kiss the world. There is more good news: it kisses back.”

“By turns explorer and explainer, Simran Sethi conducts a thoughtful and heartfelt tour of humanity’s most beloved tastes—and the threats that could extinguish them forever.”

Bread, Wine, Chocolate is for anyone who has ever longed for a richer understanding of the foods you love, and for greater awareness of what it takes to bring them to you.”

“In a new book, author Simran Sethi argues that we are facing one of the most radical shifts in food ever.”

“[Sethi] writes with a deep understanding of pleasure and taste to convey her urgent message – we must make uncompromising, purposeful choices when it comes to what we eat before it’s too late!”

“...Simran Sethi’s new book Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love, an excellent look at loss of biodiversity through something that we all know, and love, well: food.”

“Simran Sethi... argues convincingly about the deep importance of these humble foods that human beings have been imbibing for millennia.”

Bread, Wine, Chocolate is full of wonderfully geeky bits of science, including an excellent section on how memory and culture influences our perception of taste. But Sethi’s friendly, welcoming tone makes serious topics digestible and pleasurable.”
Product Details
ISBN: 9780061581076
ISBN-10: 0061581070
Publisher: HarperOne
Publication Date: November 10th, 2015
Pages: 352
Language: English