Evanston food author snags HarperCollins deal

Cat Zakrzewski

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Evanston resident Josh Schonwald’s debut novel “The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food,” follows his journey around the world in search of futuristic food trends. HarperCollins published the novel April 10. While looking for the salads and seafood of tomorrow, Schonwald gradually became more interested in sustainability and the controversy surrounding scientifically engineered food, he said. “I came to realize when you’re thinking about the future of food, it’s also linked to the future-of-Earth question,” Schonwald said. “Issues of sustainability came to the forefront of this book.” Though American society generally celebrates local, natural and organic labels, Schonwald said technology in the form of aquaculture and test-tube meats could be used to supplement future food shortages as the human population grows and natural resources are depleted. “There is no silver-bullet solution to the issue of sustainable food production,” Schonwald said. “It’s a combination of natural and unnatural methods.” Schonwald runs an online magazine as well as podcasts that expand on many ideas from “The Taste of Tomorrow” about sustainability, alternative means of food production and ethnic cuisines emerging in the American market. He wrote in an email to The Daily that his work on the future of food will not end with the publication of his novel. Chris Bentley (MSJ ’12), who helped Schonwald research his book, regularly contributes to the site and weekly podcasts. He said there should be more discussion on technological innovation in food production. “There should be consideration and debate, not close-mindedness,” Bentley said. Though the focus of “The Taste of Tomorrow” is sustainability and technology, Schonwald originally began the project after writing an article about aquaculture for the Miami New Times. When he learned that a farmable species of fish called cobia was likely going to be more common than salmon in the future, he said he began to question if there could be new forms of salad, cow or pad thai as well. Schonwald’s book details his many travels for the sake of food – to the Salinas Valley in California on a search for new lettuces, to the Netherlands to research the production of test-tube meat and to New York to meet the chef who discovered the next big ethnic cuisine to hit American palettes: African. “I hope people get a good story out of it and come away more interested in a lot of these issues,” said Schonwald’s longtime friend Rob Jordan, who knew Schonwald from the Miami New Times and assisted in the editing process. According to the publisher’s website, Schonwald is a graduate of Macalester College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Washington Post. catherinezakrzewski2015@u.northwestern.edu