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Endangered Eating: America's Vanishing Foods

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by Sarah Lohman
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Intrigued by entries in Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, a project which chronicles local foods at risk of disappearing, Sarah Lohman investigated eight American foods on that list. As she puts it, “I discovered that the path to saving these ingredients wasn’t clear-cut. Nor was the question of who should have access to these ingredients—and at what price.”

While outrage over the decline and dwindling of fruit varieties, specially adapted livestock, and traditional practices is abundant in food writing, Lohman’s willingness to address the complexities involved in preserving them makes Endangered Eating a more interesting read. 

Her lively prose and grasp of anecdotes brings to life the people involved in keeping things like Coachella Valley dates and Carolina African runner peanuts under cultivation. She weaves into each chapter the larger stories of regions and the people who live there, from the Ojibwe of Minnesota to the sugarcane farmers of Hawaii to the reefnet fishers of Puget Sound, who employ a technique that is thousands of years old.

We could wish that writers a century ago were this detailed about recording the passing of foods and foodways.


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