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Have you ever wondered why those perfectly red tomatoes from the supermarket taste like tap water? And did a simple roast chicken always require half a pound of seasoning? 

It's no illusion. The flavor of the food we eat is changing, and has been for more than half a century. Tomatoes, chicken, strawberries -- everything we grow is bigger and cheaper, but blander than ever. At the same time, technology now lets us produce in the lab the very flavors that have been lost on the farm. And the result is that we have utterly transformed what, and how much, we eat.     

In this remarkable new book, award-winning journalist Mark Schatzker discovers the missing piece of the food puzzle: flavor. Drawing on advances ranging from the brain science of food addiction to how plants communicate with insects, The Dorito Effect shows how we have interfered with a highly sophisticated chemical language that evolved to guide our nutrition. Evolution did not program us to get fat—we've simply tricked ourselves into craving the wrong foods.   

The solution is as novel as it is exhilarating. We are on the cusp of a new revolution in agriculture that promises better health and longer lives through the one thing we most desire: better tasting food.




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Early Praise for The Dorito Effect

“Mark Schatzker’s book comes at a time when healthful eating and sustainability are increasingly on everyone’s minds. The Dorito Effect is a quick, engaging read that examines the essential role that flavor plays in the way we eat today. As a chef, I know that people want to eat delicious food, but Schatzker goes further and investigates how we engage with flavor to address the growing health crisis.” (Daniel Boulud, Chef/Owner, The Dinex Group)
"A sobering account of humanity’s attempt to overcome modern food blandness with flavor compounds, at the expense of nutritional integrity. Schatzker's engaging chronicle of how naturally occurring food flavor is as an evolutionary tuned sensory marker of nutritional value is bound to give consumers and scientists a new perspective on judging food quality and health effects." (Dr. Ameer Taha, Department of Food Science and Technology, UC Davis)

“In The Dorito Effect Mark Schatzker explores a novel - and to my mind, key – theory to explain our increasing consumption of the low-quality food that is undermining health. Modern food production has made much of what we eat flavorless, and a multibillion dollar flavor industry has stepped in to fool our senses, leaving us unsatisfied and craving more and more. I strongly agree with his advice to go back to eating real food.” (Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. New York Times bestselling author of Healthy Aging)

"I don't know when this much science has been this fun to read. Brilliant." (Joel Salatin, author of Folks, This Ain't Normal and farmer at Polyface Farm)

"After decades of conflict over sugar, carbs and fat, this extremely well researched book journeys to the heart of the food problem—flavor—and delivers the perfect solution." (Dr. Richard Bazinet, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto)

"If you want to understand why the future of healthy eating is delicious eating, read this book." (Howard Moskowitz, inventor of Prego Extra Chunky Spaghetti Sauce and food industry legend)

“Mark Schatzker knows food. He is dedicated to quality and is always looking for the best ingredients. This is an important book that tells us why good food is so essential for everyone.” (Bonnie Stern, bestselling author of HeartSmart Cooking for Family and Friends)