“This book,” Josh Schonwald writes, “is fundamentally a search for people who think they have the Next Big Thing in food. . . . I’ve devoted months to investigating salad, seafood, and meat, but nary a moment to cheese or dairy products. This unequal treatment is due to a couple of things: a gagging reflex that is provoked by cultured dairy products, and my obsession with finding the salad of the future. So full disclosure: this is a look at the food frontier, a search for the next big things in food, through the eyes of a human with some food preferences and prejudices.”
Just about anyone who writes about food comes to the task with built-in positive and negative prejudices, so there’s nothing unusual about that. As one who can’t imagine getting through the day without a healthy (or unhealthy) helping of cheese, I obviously do not share all of Schonwald’s biases, but on broader matters, his views are much to my taste. Though he came to his research much under the influence of Michael Pollan and other prominent foodies who are opposed to biotechnology and genetically engineered foods, what he saw and learned persuaded him to a somewhat more complicated and nuanced view. While he shares their preference for natural, organic ingredients and agrees with many of their strictures about real as opposed to scientifically manufactured food, he also came to appreciate the work being done by scientists on ways to increase the food supply at a time in world history when population is expanding and our ability to feed it with natural foodstuffs is not keeping up.