The Tastemakers: Why We're Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue

Have you ever wondered why grocery stores, restaurants and food magazines seemingly all start to promote the same foods at once? Examples are endless: chia seeds, kale chips, cupcakes and the current trend of all things bacon. David Sax (Save the Deli), known for his food articles in the New York Times and other publications, takes readers on a journey deep into the heart of the specialty food industry and examines how different foods can go from little-known and hardly used to desirable fads that bring in millions of dollars.

Starting in the late 1990s with the cupcake craze, Sax's data and research--collected from interviews with farmers, manufacturers, chefs and trend forecasters--breaks down why one obscure food may make it into mainstream markets while another won't. He visits the annual Fancy Food Show, "a veritable orgy of food trends on the market and in the making... inside a thirty-foot radius... duck prosciutto, Haribo gummy bears, a shot of espresso, aged bleu cheese, a shot of raspberry kombucha..."--the list goes on and on. He attends the fifth annual Baconfest in Chicago, where bacon is the ingredient in everything from cookies to Bloody Marys; talks to food truck drivers in Washington, D.C., who are fighting for the right to sell food on the streets; and spends time with Glenn Roberts, who is cultivating heirloom rice and grain varieties in South Carolina.

Sax's conversational tone expertly informs and entertains as he breaks down why some foods become market staples and others are destined for the "specialty" aisle. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

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