Apples, a common New England crop, have been called the United States’ “”most endangered food.”” The iconic Texas Longhorn cattle is categorized at “”critical”” risk for extinction. Unique date palms, found nowhere else on the planet, grow in California’s Coachella Valley, but the family farms that caretake them are shutting down. Apples, cattle, dates―these are foods that carry significant cultural weight. But they’re disappearing.
In Endangered Eating, culinary historian Sarah Lohman draws inspiration from the Ark of Taste, a list compiled by Slow Food International that catalogues important regional foods. She travels the country learning about the distinct ingredients at risk of being lost: in Hawaii, she learns the stories behind heirloom sugarcane; in the Navajo Nation, she assists in the traditional butchering of a Navajo Churro ram; in the Upper Midwest, she harvests wild rice; in the Pacific Northwest, she spends a day reefnet fishing; on the Gulf Coast, she devours gumbo made with filé powder; in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she tastes America’s oldest peanut. She learns from those who love these rare ingredients: shepherds, fishers, farmers, scientists, historians, and activists. And she tries her hand at raising these crops and preparing these dishes.
Animated by stories yet grounded in research, Endangered Eating gives listeners the tools to support community organizations and producers that work to preserve local culinary traditions and rare, cherished foods.