Book Report: A Taste of Generation YUM

Reviews of books relevant to the food movement.

Sustainable food book

One sentence summary of this book: “How the Millennial Generation’s Love for Organic Fare, Celebrity Chefs, and Microbrews Will Make or Break the Future of Food.”

Book title: A Taste of Generation YUM
Author: Eve Turow
Publication date: July 1, 2015
Keywords: millennials, foodie, social media, trends

Memorable quote: “If I were to put money on anything, I say this generation is, without a doubt, lacking in sensory stimulation, and we’re finding a remedy in food.”

Key points:

Jessica Beth Levine reading A Taste of Generation Yum
  • The next generation (AKA: millennials) in the US pay more attention to food than prior generations. This will greatly affect the future of the food movement in America.
  • Millennials are broadly viewed as entitled, lazy, and selfish. They also have a reputation for being food-obsessed, with a specific focus on cooking, celebrity chefs, and food sourcing.
  • Social media plays a significant role in spreading an interest in food, from chef news, to food justice, to Instagram photos. Social media is not going away.
  • The interest in the tangible aspects of food (farming, distilling, cooking, baking) is in response to how intangible and magical current technologies have become.  

Critical reception: This is the first book of its kind and food news outlets are jumping to speak to Turow for interviews and sound bites (see here and here). This book is getting positive feedback on Amazon, but hasn't had any major reviews yet.

My opinion: Millennials are officially defined as individuals born between 1980 and 2000. That makes me squarely a millennial and based on how easy it was to see myself in much of Eve Turow’s descriptions, I feel like one.

I really enjoyed reading about Turow's adventures tracking down celebrity chefs, attending secret pop-up dinners, and visiting farmers living off the land as she delved into this topic. She scored interesting interviews on millennials with some BIG names in food (Michael Pollan, Anthony Bourdain, Mark Bittman, and Marion Nestle).

Turow ties her narrative together toward the end of the book by directly questioning whether our generation actually WILL make a difference and if so, how. Her call to action at the end to reduce food waste is a far cry from how she starts the book, but I didn’t mind.

One thing I did mind, though: the lack of editing! Generation YUM's biggest problem was that it needed much better editing and proofreading. This book has errors in it! I circled a few typos, but the most egregious to an Angeleno was her attribution of the Annenberg School for Communication to the University of South Carolina!!! A glaring error.

Library hour at the apartment.

Library hour at the apartment.

Should you read it?: If you’re a millennial and/or you’ve ever taken photos of your food to share with friends, yes, you should read it! You will see yourself and your habits in this book and you will overlook Turow's errors. If you’re a gen Xer or from the baby boomer generation, only pick this up if you’re interested in the future of food and the people leading the charge over the next 30 years.  

Happy reading!