“Meals to Come: A History of the Future of Food”, by Warren Belasco is one of the best books I’ve read about food and the possibilities, as well reasons, to try to predict the future. In the book there are so many layers that it is hard to not to think about our limited discussion regarding the future of food today.
Food is such a fascinating subject and still it is rare to read something really interesting. Belasco manages to look at the future of food from many different angles and thereby the future of food becomes a reflection of major ethical challenges, such as equity, poverty, animal rights, the role of technology, the role of companies in society, but also the role (and limits) of traditional science.
There are so many fascinating and provoking arguments in the book that I recommend people to read this instead of next sensationalist book made for airports.
As all authors Belasco is sometime sharpening the differences and sound bites very hard to make a point, but as long as you read this as a book about ideas and not a book where one side shall be proven wrong/right this helps rather than undermines the value of the book
The fact that Belasco spend so much time discussing if speculative (science) fiction as a better predictor than methodical and “serious” research is very interesting. As he correctly reminds us the most important changes are not linear they are due to: “wild cards, unexpected twists and turns, surprise decisions.”
I like to echo Belasco’s last sentence: “Realism favors small steps, while the challenges we face may require quantum leaps. For these we may need much more romance than our ironic postmillennial era as been able to muster so far – more utopians proposing “dreams to live by,” more public intellectuals issuing impassioned wake-up calls, and more public citizens hungry to foresee and act.”