The Tastemakers by David Sax

the-tastemakersTen years ago books about food weren’t really a thing. Or at least not a think like they are now. Now every chef worth his or her weight in bacon has a book out. Often it is a cookbook to accompany a television show they have on the food network, but increasingly it is a memoir about how they got to where they are or a philosophical reflection on eating practices –  think Anthony Bourdain or Michael Pollan. And that is just one trend David Sax explores in his new book The Tastemakers.

The subtitle of Sax’s book tells you everything you need to know about it: Why We’re Crazy For Cupcakes But Fed Up With Fondue. Sax explores food trends – what makes them, how they are sustained and why the fizzle. His book breaks trends down into four types and uses case studies to expand on his framework. He explores trends from every angle – agriculture, health, ethnicity, politics and money. As thorough as the book is, it is also entertaining. Sax has an easy, friendly voice that gently guides the reader through some foreign territory.

Who would like this book? Obviously this book is for foodies, but not just foodies. It is also for anyone who is interested in trends and what makes them happen. Food is merely the springboard Sax uses to consider this. It also gives really interesting background to the food industry from everything to agricultural production to high end dining to fast food and the food truck phenomena. I was particularly interested in how social media ties into many recent developments.

This books was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 


  1. I love the idea behind this book. I often notice different food trends and wonder how and why they happen. Foods seem to go in and out of style like clothes. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention!

  2. Ha, I love your “every chef worth his or her weight in bacon” line! This sounds like the kind of book I would LOVE to listen to on audio (since I just enjoyed Anthony Bourdain’s book that way). I’ll have to see if my library has it!

  3. I’m so not a foodie, so I really haven’t read anything in this genre. The idea of food trends is pretty interesting though, because seriously, cupcakes. What us up with that? I mean, they’re tasty, but sheesh. Your line about chefs being worth their weight in bacon? Pure gold.

  4. Pingback: June Round Up | 52 books or bust

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