• Eating to Extinction

  • The World's Rarest Foods and Why We Need to Save Them
  • By: Dan Saladino
  • Narrated by: Dan Saladino
  • Length: 16 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (76 ratings)

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Eating to Extinction

By: Dan Saladino
Narrated by: Dan Saladino
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Publisher's Summary

This audiobook is read by the author.

Dan Saladino's Eating to Extinction is the prominent broadcaster’s pathbreaking tour of the world’s vanishing foods and his argument for why they matter now more than ever

Over the past several decades, globalization has homogenized what we eat, and done so ruthlessly. The numbers are stark: Of the roughly 6,000 different plants once consumed by human beings, only nine remain major staples today. Just three of these - rice, wheat, and corn - now provide 50 percent of all our calories. Dig deeper and the trends are more worrisome still:

The source of much of the world’s food - seeds - is mostly in the control of just four corporations. Ninety-five percent of milk consumed in the United States comes from a single breed of cow. Half of all the world’s cheese is made with bacteria or enzymes made by one company. And one in four beers drunk around the world is the product of one brewer.

If it strikes you that everything is starting to taste the same wherever you are in the world, you’re by no means alone. This matters: When we lose diversity and foods become endangered, we not only risk the loss of traditional foodways, but also of flavors, smells, and textures that may never be experienced again. And the consolidation of our food has other steep costs, including a lack of resilience in the face of climate change, pests, and parasites. Our food monoculture is a threat to our health - and to the planet.

In Eating to Extinction, the distinguished BBC food journalist Dan Saladino travels the world to experience and document our most at-risk foods before it’s too late. He tells the fascinating stories of the people who continue to cultivate, forage, hunt, cook, and consume what the rest of us have forgotten or didn’t even know existed. Take honey - not the familiar product sold in plastic bottles, but the wild honey gathered by the Hadza people of East Africa, whose diet consists of 800 different plants and animals and who communicate with birds in order to locate bees’ nests. Or consider murnong - once the staple food of Aboriginal Australians, this small root vegetable with the sweet taste of coconut is undergoing a revival after nearly being driven to extinction. And in Sierra Leone, there are just a few surviving stenophylla trees, a plant species now considered crucial to the future of coffee.

From an Indigenous American chef refining precolonial recipes to farmers tending Geechee red peas on the Sea Islands of Georgia, the individuals profiled in Eating to Extinction are essential guides to treasured foods that have endured in the face of rampant sameness and standardization. They also provide a roadmap to a food system that is healthier, more robust, and, above all, richer in flavor and meaning. 

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

©2022 Dan Saladino (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

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Must read

The most interesting book I’ve ever read. I found myself wishing it would never end. The narrator was perfect, the facts engaging, 5 stars.

1 person found this helpful

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pleasurable listening.

enjoyed this book on the way to work. good information and pleasantly narrated. Thoroughly enjoyed!

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Informative

Some chapters dealt with topics new to me. Others were not new (cover domestication of cereals, coffee, etc., and water pollution due to factory farms and aqua culture in the courses I teach). The author/narrator uses British pronunciation and British names (e. g., courgettes instead of zucchini). Aimed at general public.

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To Know our self inflicted vunerability

This is a superb book detailing our foods, where they have come from and how, in a short time, humanity has so simplified our diversity that we now stand exposed to great shortages and starvation...

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Homage to Oysters

Who knew we owed so much to oysters? Thank you, excellent creatures of the sea!

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  • 04-16-22

Very Interesting and So Necessary

The history and relevance of our foods, the humans who have tended them and what can be done to save an ailing earth is well written and read. The narrator was the author and he did an excellent job.

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Really makes you think 🤔

This book will have you reevaluating how you enjoy a simple meal. What was once something tasty can now connect you to history in an almost religious way. It had me thinking about my own heritages and thinking about trying childhood meals again, but from scratch. It also had me rethinking about my garden this year. Definitely will be going some different things if I can get my hands on them.

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Fantastic!

A very interesting and compelling read regarding human culture, the world we live in and the crazy complex interface that is how we sustain and nourish ourselves. The tone stayed light despite some serious subject matter and the examples were fascinating.Yet another reason to fight to preserve biodiversity amongst others!

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A hard copy of this book will be on my shelf.

This book has earned a spot on my shelf at work. Each chapter hammers home the importance of our attention to the world around us. It reminds the reader how impactful we are on the environment around us, and the importance that we need to pay to our past experiences. If one chapter does not reach you at a primal level, another will. If you are plant based, your eyes should be opened to the monoculture that likely allows you to actually live the way you are choosing to live. If you love your steak, it will make you think more about buying farm-to-table or eating more local, different meats. If you are passionate about cheeses, wine, beer, spirits, your morning coffee....this book is a call to arms for everyone. We are all involved with food, we all eat, we are all responsible for our sustainable future.

Most importantly, the book is approachable, giving enough detail, but never going so deep in a topic that you lose interest and feel overwhelmed.

I can not say enough about this book and have recommended it to pretty much everyone who I have spoken to during the week or so it has taken me to digest the book in its entirety.