STAFF PICK: Bread, Wine, Chocolate by Simran Sethi

Title: Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love
Author: Simran Sethi
Narrator: Therese Plummer

My interest in this book began right away when I saw the beautiful cover, and kept increasing the more I read. The subtitle of the book is, “The Slow Loss of Foods We Love,” which refers to decreasing diversity as the food industry turns more and more toward mass production. Sethi guides us through her travels from Ethiopia to Ecuador, explaining where diversity is decreasing as she explores the production of bread, wine, chocolate, beer and coffee.

Each food’s section follows a similar pattern. First she describes insights gleaned from farmers, manufacturers, breeders, seed bank scientists, and a slew of other experts. After stressing where diversity is at risk, she provides a beginners guide to tasting the food in question, which emphasizes the amount of different flavors that are at stake.

Therese Plummer does a fine narration job. Her voice is steady and conveys the passion behind the words. She reads at my preferred pace, and still enunciates with enough clarity that there is little distortion when increased to the next speed.

If you enjoy experiencing new flavors, if you’ve ever been curious about food production, or if you respect the value of quality food, I recommend that you give this book a listen!

Fun addition: This audiobook comes with a PDF as a reference for certain parts of the book. One of the PDF inclusions is a “flavor wheel” for tasting different foods, to encourage you to appreciate fuller flavors. I found this guide fun to glance at while I listen, but personally could detect neither butterscotch nor geranium in my wine when I tried. I have a ways to go.

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