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Lost Feast: Culinary Extinction and the Future of Food

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A rollicking exploration of the history and future of our favorite foods

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
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by ECW Press
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Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

Lost Feast is an engaging exploration of our destructive relationships with our favourite foods. Looking back to the Romans and beyond, Newman tries to understand why, as a species, we seem so dedicated to driving what we love to extinction - and how, perhaps, we might be able to stem this trend before we literally have nothing left to eat. Newman looks at historically popular foods from mammoths to passenger pigeons, silphium to pears, and
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Think of a great library of flavours. For the last century we have been recklessly burning all of the books. [loc. 1824[

The author is a professor of culinary geography, a job I had no idea existed: 'combines my love of travel with my love of eating'. Her investigation of species extinction and its impact on cuisine takes her from Iceland to Hawaii, from musings on mammoths -- the wave of their extinction moved at a human's walking pace -- to being eaten alive by mosquitoes in Canada's far north
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lost Feast introduces us to several species who were literally eaten to death. The author takes us on a journey through extinct foods and historic meals, presenting an incredibly sad topic in a way that is engaging and often humorous. It's a well written book, poignant and beautiful.
Hazel Bright
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Far too much boring chit chat. I don't care about Dan or the author's mom or how the author spent her day all that much.
Jessica Haider
Food and extinction. Everyone doesn't necessarily think those go hand and hand. Lost Feast is an ambitious book by Lenore Newman that explores the various ways in which we humans have driven some species to extinction or the brink of extinction. Newman covers the whole gamut from large wild animals to small birds, insects, fruits, etc. Each chapter of the book covers a different type of food where Newman and her friend (and fellow scientist) Dan have "extinction dinners". At these meals, they ...more
When it is hot as heck outside and there is nothing cool to do but reading as everything else makes you end up a sweaty mess, it is the perfect day for a speed reader.

I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do .

When we humans love foods, we love them a lot. In fact, we have often eaten them
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Foodies. I admit to being one, somewhat. I'll try any food at least once (no thank you taste). But some foodies can actually behave like locusts. The rarer the better. The more expensive and exclusive the better. It's why caviar is so expensive and potentially devastating to the sturgeon that produce it. Foodies are killing off species and plants. Weather is also devastating land and killing off crops. It's a timely book. We all like to eat, maybe we should learn to eat a bit more responsibly. ...more
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Lots of great, and depressing, factoids on the impact humans have on their food. But, it’s not a great book. Most chapters are organized around a contrived event that allows the author to introduce and discuss a topic, and most discussion feels forced.

This does nothing to negate the reality of the problems the author discusses, but I feel you really have to be into food to stick with this book, and if you’re really into food then you probably know a good deal of this already. Or at least you
Shana Darabie
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars, mostly because this book was somewhat of a missed opportunity. The writer has extinction meals with her friends and just has dialogue with her pal Dan about the subject manner of extinct foods, but no recipes. The book also felt like half memoir half study of food extinction, and I personally was not interested in the memoir aspect of the book. Although I learned a lot on the subject, the book still felt somewhat lacking. Like there is a mention of Meyer who Meyer lemons were named ...more
Emma Steinmetz
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
The writing style wasn’t always to my taste, but I think that everyone should read this book. When we hear reports about how our behavior (including our diet) may impact the world going forward, those predictions can seem fantastical and abstract. But as this book shows, we have eaten entire species to death many time before, and we will likely do so again. It is a melancholy reminder that our actions matter.

And no, the author was not vegetarian when she started writing the book, so this is not
Ashley Phillips
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It was full of interesting information and ideas and I honestly think everyone should read it to become well versed and knowledgeable with our food systems. I highly recommend it.
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent book based on an original idea to look at the history of food through various factors and human impact on the food chain.
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Dr. Lenore Newman is a writer and urban geographer. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Food Security and Environment, and is an Associate Professor of Geography and the Environment at the University of the Fraser Valley.

Lenore studies culinary geographies, and just completed a book on Canadian cuisine. She also researches food security, with a particular focus on farmland preservation, the