When we humans love foods, we love them a lot. In fact, we have often eaten them into extinction, whether it is the megafauna of the Paleolithic world or the passenger pigeon of the last century. In Lost Feast, food expert Lenore Newman sets out to look at the history of the foods we have loved to death and what that means for the culinary paths we choose for the future. Whether it's chasing down the luscious butter of local Icelandic cattle or looking at the impacts of modern industrialized agriculture on the range of food varieties we can put in our shopping carts, Newman's bright, intelligent gaze finds insight and humor at every turn.
Bracketing the chapters that look at the history of our relationship to specific foods, Lenore enlists her ecologist friend and fellow cook, Dan, in a series of "extinction dinners" designed to recreate meals of the past or to illustrate how we might be eating in the future. Part culinary romp, part environmental wake-up call, Lost Feast makes a critical contribution to our understanding of food security today. You will never look at what's on your plate in quite the same way again.
Lenore Newman is the Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Environment at the University of the Fraser Valley. She is the author of the acclaimed Speaking in Cod Tongues: A Canadian Culinary Journey. She divides her time between Vancouver and Roberts Creek, British Columbia.
"An interesting and thought-provoking adventure alongside an engaging, wry-humored narrator, the book forces the reader to consider humans' role in historic plant and animal extinctions, as well as how we might approach food more reasonably moving forward."
– Civil Eats
"Edifying and entertaining [...] Never didactic and cautiously optimistic, Newman recognizes that there is hard work ahead to recalibrate the North American diet. She builds a compelling case for us human superpredators to rethink our food choices, and to be healthier for the environment and our fellow inhabitant species. Lost Feast is enjoyable reading about a serious topic."
– Foreword Reviews, starred review
"Free-wheeling look at the flora and fauna we've eaten into oblivion."
– Toronto Star