Author who explores food trends to visit UM

Published 12:00 pm Friday, February 26, 2016

By Rebecca Lauck Cleary

University of Mississippi

Popular foods for 2016 include kimchee and packaged seaweed strips, but David Sax already knew that.

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Sax, an award-winning journalist and author, explores the world of food trends: where they come from, how they grow and where they end up.

He will discuss the latest culinary developments at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

In his latest book “The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes and Fed up with Fondue,” Sax explores the world of food trends and searches for the farmers, chefs and even data analysts who help decide what is on America’s dinner plate.

He said his interest in food trends developed because he had been writing about food from two different angles: the culinary aspect of restaurants and chefs, and also the big corporate world of food companies.      

“What I kept seeing was that those two were converging, and food trends were shaping conversations on both ends,” Sax said. “I wanted to find out why we suddenly all want to eat something (cupcakes, for instance) where we never did before. What were the forces that made that happen?”

His favorite food trend right now is the artisan bread movement.

“Bread just keeps getting better, in the most simple and wonderful way,” Sax said. “Life’s too short for bad bread.”

Catarina Passidomo, assistant professor of Southern studies and anthropology, said she has heard several interviews on various food-related podcasts with Sax, and finds his perspective on food trends to be provocative and accurate.

“In an era of quinoa puffs, cronuts and with the rise and fall of kale, David Sax provides innovative insight into why some food trends fly and others flop,” Passidomo said. “I’m very much looking forward to his talk and would encourage anyone who eats, or thinks about eating, to attend as well.”

Sax is also the author of “Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen,” and has been recognized with a James Beard Award, IACP award and other accolades. His writing has appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek, and The New York Times. His third book, “The Revenge of Analog: Dispatches from the Post-Digital Economy,” will be published this November.

In addition to his lecture, Sax will meet with two writing and rhetoric classes.

His visit is sponsored by the Southern Foodways Alliance and the UM Department of Writing and Rhetoric. Each year, they work together to bring award-winning journalists to campus to speak to students, faculty and staff. For more information, visit