Book review: Bread, Wine, Chocolate
In Bread, Wine, Chocolate, author Simran Sethi shares stories about her relationship with certain foods, but it’s easy to relate these to your own experiences. Food is such an important part of life. So why don’t we give it more thought? That’s what this book does.
The three foods from the title are joined in the book by beer and coffee, and – perhaps the odd one out in terms of popularity – octopus. There is a good chance that your favourite food is in that list. Mine is bread. Maybe yours is coffee, or chocolate. Either way, there will be at least one section in Sethi’s book that covers a food that you care a lot about.
Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love will teach you things you didn’t yet know about your favourite food. The main message is that these delicious foods are all so popular that their mass production is causing a loss in biodiversity. Once certain beans or grapes or grains become so popular that they’re used to make most of the products, very few other varieties are grown. For example, you might think there are lots of different wines, but they’re mostly from the same kind of grapes.
Through interviews with farmers, chefs, scientists and other food experts, Sethi explores how our food choices are cultivating these monocultures, and what this means for agriculture, biology, and our meals. What foods will we lose if we don’t pay attention to where they come from?
By framing these issues in terms of the foods we love the most, Bread, Wine, Chocolate makes us care about biodiversity. Losing a plant is one thing; losing your favourite tasty treats is a whole different level!
If the realities of our global agricultural practices are hard to swallow, then at least the food itself does not have to be: At the end of every section in the book is a tasting guide, explaining how best to enjoy and taste each of the foods, with tips from expert tasters. Because, ultimately, Bread, Wine, Chocolate is a book about loving food.