Although cursed with an uninviting cover, Last Chance to Eat, with its investigations into the history and eating of a variety of foodstuffs, is a fascinating read for anyone with even the barest interest in food. For foodies, it should be essential.
Toronto-based Gina Mallet uses her particular memories – a post-WWII childhood in egg-less Britain, life in a Connecticut fishing village, dates at a New York steakhouse – to expand on the universal food issues. The daughter of a food-loving Englishman and his free-spirited American wife, she quotes from obscure experts and modern scientists in her quest to discover where the good food came from – and where it has disappeared to.
Using her evocatively sensual descriptions of food from the past as a counterpoint, she picks her way through the nutritional minefield of the present, exploring the issues of raw milk cheese, the importance of the egg in cooking, BSE scares, the demise of vegetable and fruit varieties, and exploring the vagaries of the fishing industry.
Erudite and entertaining, Last Chance to Eat is a thought provoking read.
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World by Gina Mallet is published by Norton