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Eating to Extinction: The World's Rarest…
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Eating to Extinction: The World's Rarest Foods and Why We Need to Save Them

av Dan Saladino, Dan Saladino (Berättare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2077133,486 (4.26)5
"Over the past several decades, globalization has homogenized what we eat, and done so ruthlessly. The numbers are stark: Of the roughly six thousand different plants once consumed by human beings, only nine remain major staples today. Just three of these-rice, wheat, and corn-now provide fifty percent of all our calories. Dig deeper and the trends are more worrisome still: The source of much of the world's food-seeds-is mostly in the control of just four corporations. Ninety-five percent of milk consumed in the United States comes from a single breed of cow. Half of all the world's cheese is made with bacteria or enzymes made by one company. And one in four beers drunk around the world is the product of one brewer. If it strikes you that everything is starting to taste the same wherever you are in the world, you're by no means alone. This matters: when we lose diversity and foods become endangered, we not only risk the loss of traditional foodways, but also of flavors, smells, and textures that may never be experienced again. And the consolidation of our food has other steep costs, including a lack of resilience in the face of climate change, pests, and parasites. Our food monoculture is a threat to our health-and to the planet. In Eating to Extinction, the distinguished BBC food journalist Dan Saladino travels the world to experience and document our most at-risk foods before it's too late. He tells the fascinating stories of the people who continue to cultivate, forage, hunt, cook, and consume what the rest of us have forgotten or didn't even know existed. Take honey--not the familiar product sold in plastic bottles, but the wild honey gathered by the Hadza people of East Africa, whose diet consists of eight hundred different plants and animals and who communicate with birds in order to locate bees' nests. Or consider murnong-once the staple food of Aboriginal Australians, this small root vegetable with the sweet taste of coconut is undergoing a revival after nearly being driven to extinction. And in Sierra Leone, there are just a few surviving stenophylla trees, a plant species now considered crucial to the future of coffee"--… (mer)
Medlem:TheAceOfPages
Titel:Eating to Extinction: The World's Rarest Foods and Why We Need to Save Them
Författare:Dan Saladino
Andra författare:Dan Saladino (Berättare)
Info:
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:****
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Eating to Extinction: The World's Rarest Foods and Why We Need to Save Them av Dan Saladino

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I kind of suspected that this book would be depressing before starting and yet I still managed to underestimate it. I'm familiar with some of the stories, but others were new to me. Although some of the new to me stories still felt familiar because of similar historical developments where I live.

It's heart-breaking how much diversity we are losing not only in nature but also in agriculture in the name of capitalism. Of course big agriculture is going to come out fine, but the rest of us? We're probably going to struggle as we need to rely more and more on genetically modified crops that bring back the diversity the natural populations had that would have allowed them to survive the changing planet. Just seeing how far things have gone in the name of profit is scary. Understandable given how the world works, but scary.

We see the same story repeated over and over again across countries and food groups. There was once a variety of species and varieties, giving greater security if the conditions were less than ideal. Over time these were replaced with more convenient commercial species that were inferior in most ways. Culture, heritage and independence are lost. As much as learning about the different cultures, foods and ingredients was fascinating, the story felt very familiar by the end. I don't know how much this feeling was impacted by the fact that there were more foods I don't consume towards the end (e.g. I don't like alcohol or coffee). These stories were still interesting (especially the tea portion although I prefer a local tea (one that thankfully hasn't been lost, even if it has become increasingly commercialised). Seeing how everyone involved gets exploited and communities lose everything is just very sad and not fair in any way).

I'd recommend this book if you are interested in learning about how broken the food/farming industry is. I'll warn you that you'll become a whole lot more aware of what you eat and start wanting all the alternatives, even though they aren't really available (at least not where I live). ( )
  TheAceOfPages | Jun 4, 2024 |
Eye-opening and interesting, makes me want to grow some heirloom crops. The book's organization into small chapters made it easy to read. ( )
  cactuscat | May 25, 2024 |
An ambitious, immersive and important book. Saladino has made a tour of the world's vanishing foods - its animals, vegetables, crops, and shown us why it matters so much that retaining diversity in the food chain matters so much. Disease can rampage through a single variety at horrifying speed, and if that variety is all we have, the consequences are obvious. Too many of our foodstuffs are in too few hands. The cultures that are injected into our cheeses worldwide to make them what they are are in the hands of some 5 suppliers. The cattle we breed are - worldwide - largely a single breed. Seeds worldwide are in the hands of just four corporations So many of the foods we rely on were once developed in response to local conditions - the soil and the climate. Now, most foods are grown as a a one-size-fits-all. Whereas foodstuffs used to be so different and varied from one country and region to the next, now the entire world derives 50 % of its calorie-intake from just three foods: wheat, corn and rice. Saladino shows us that besides this being so dangerous - an epidemic could wipe away a foodstuff completely, it's also impoverishing our diets, and the rich variety of local foods. He discusses globalisation, the crippling effects of war.
This engaging and readable books takes us with Dan Saladino as he visits hunter-gatherers in Tanzania, Bere barley growers in Orkney, German lentil growers, apple growers in Kazakhstan .... and so many more. Each adventure was full of interest, and left me with a desire to try the foods and drink he sampled. It also left me with a determination to do what I can to support the remaining foods being saved by passionate and committed producers. The most important book I'll read this year. ( )
  Margaret09 | Apr 15, 2024 |
This was my second attempt at reading this book. It just looked so loooong that I couldn't face it although I thought I might be interested in the actual content. So, I started in the middle with Stichleton cheese and worked my way out, reading at random whatever caught my fancy and ended up reading most of the book.

Who wouldn't be interested in the fact that we have many foods that are disappearing? The same arguments about animals becoming extinct apply to foods. Loss of diversity leads to greater dangers in a food being wiped out; lower diversity for wildlife and lower diversity for our gut microbiome. Often the people that continue with these foods are passionate about them or are part of a long tradition of making/growing them and when they die, so do the ways they know. This makes Saladino's book really important in that it highlights what these foods are.

Stichleton cheese has suffered because it is made with raw milk. Can you imagine the French refusing a cheese made with raw milk? Stilton can only be made with pasteurised milk to be called Stilton. Pasteurisation did save many, many people from tuberculosis amongst other things but in eradicating raw milk we also lost something else.

Perry was also interesting - a cider type drink made with pears. I used to live in Worcestershire, one of the counties that made Perry, and in my time there orchards disappeared at an alarming rate. Now Perry trees are few and far between and their location has to be kept a secret. It is a delicious drink, quite deceptive and why wouldn't the future of pears one day be dependent on some of the genes included in perry pears?

There used to be over 4000 varieties of potato, almost as many of corn, hundreds of varieties of apple and cheeses made where the sheep were grazing. Now we have one main type of potato - 2 or 3 if we are lucky - and half of the world's cheese made with bacteria and enzymes from one company. It seems we have forgotten what happened with the Irish famine where everyone grew the same potato so that when blight hit, it got every single plant. This food monoculture is a danger to the planet and to our health.

Saladino has taken on the role of alerting us to the plight of these foods but it is someone else's work to share with us how we can change this, what we can each do without it costing us the earth. ( )
  allthegoodbooks | Apr 2, 2024 |
This is quite a look at the decline of the diversity of the foods we eat and the drinks we drink. It is a complaint against conformity in our food supplies, against monoculture, big business, and standardization.

Besides it being ostensibly about food and agriculture, this also a travel book, in time and place. You will visit places you’ve never been before or ever gain access to. Sort of like Anthony Bourdain sitting down for a bowl of noodles in a Vietnamese greasy spoon with the President of the United States.

If I have one complaint it’s that author fails to acknowledge the utility of standardization in government policy.

While it sounds quaint and beautiful there being cheeses and alcoholic beverages made from unpasteurized milk or open vats of fermenting hops, there are reasons these standards developed: to protect people. Standards were not developed to rob people of choice.

We live in a litigious world, like it or not.

Also, people want cheap food. Grocers minimize their losses — and food waste — by sticking to known quantities. ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
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In eastern Turkey, in a golden field overshadowed by grey mountains, I reached out and touched an endangered species. (Introduction)
To grasp the scale of decline in the diversity of the world's food, we need to comprehend the almost incomprehensible amount of time it took for biodiversity to evolve.
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"Over the past several decades, globalization has homogenized what we eat, and done so ruthlessly. The numbers are stark: Of the roughly six thousand different plants once consumed by human beings, only nine remain major staples today. Just three of these-rice, wheat, and corn-now provide fifty percent of all our calories. Dig deeper and the trends are more worrisome still: The source of much of the world's food-seeds-is mostly in the control of just four corporations. Ninety-five percent of milk consumed in the United States comes from a single breed of cow. Half of all the world's cheese is made with bacteria or enzymes made by one company. And one in four beers drunk around the world is the product of one brewer. If it strikes you that everything is starting to taste the same wherever you are in the world, you're by no means alone. This matters: when we lose diversity and foods become endangered, we not only risk the loss of traditional foodways, but also of flavors, smells, and textures that may never be experienced again. And the consolidation of our food has other steep costs, including a lack of resilience in the face of climate change, pests, and parasites. Our food monoculture is a threat to our health-and to the planet. In Eating to Extinction, the distinguished BBC food journalist Dan Saladino travels the world to experience and document our most at-risk foods before it's too late. He tells the fascinating stories of the people who continue to cultivate, forage, hunt, cook, and consume what the rest of us have forgotten or didn't even know existed. Take honey--not the familiar product sold in plastic bottles, but the wild honey gathered by the Hadza people of East Africa, whose diet consists of eight hundred different plants and animals and who communicate with birds in order to locate bees' nests. Or consider murnong-once the staple food of Aboriginal Australians, this small root vegetable with the sweet taste of coconut is undergoing a revival after nearly being driven to extinction. And in Sierra Leone, there are just a few surviving stenophylla trees, a plant species now considered crucial to the future of coffee"--

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