Grist Review

Over at, Nathanael Johnson reviews my forthcoming book, Unnaturally Delicious, alongside another new book by Simran Sethi Bread Wine Chocolate: The Slow Loss of The Food We Love.  I like how he contrasts the competing visions about the future of food that Sethi and I offer.

I was pleased to see that Johnson got one of my take-home messages:

Lusk, for his part, is right in pointing out that our food system keeps improving. The food system may be broken, but it’s always been broken and it’s better now than any time in the past.

Here's how Johnson wraps up his reviews: 

I think there’s a way to reconcile these two perspectives. The progress that Lusk celebrates has given much of humanity the comfort and wealth to demand the diversity Sethi yearns for. In fact, Sethi’s book is full of evidence that there’s already a renaissance in diversity underway. She makes her way through a 10-acre vineyard growing rare grapes, visits with the makers of artisan chocolates ($6 a bar — even $18 a bar), and drops in on craft brewers reveling in the ever-growing market for unique flavors.

Every renaissance scuffles with stability and tradition. When Sethi asks one custodian of grape diversity why we don’t see vintners growing different types of vines, he tells her, “Everyone wants to drink a 300-year-old French variety with a 300-year-old history, but it’s impossible for a modern wine grape breeder to create a brand-new 300-year-old variety.”

It seems to me that the way to a more diverse, equitable, and delicious food system doesn’t wind back into traditionalism but leads us forward into the unknown. That’s a little scary. But, like many scary things, it’s also tremendously exciting.