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Zócalo Public Square: Where Do Food Fads Come From?

A few years ago, it felt like you couldn’t walk into a bakery, celebrate a birthday, or even attend a wedding without coming across a cupcake. Just as suddenly, kale salads colonized restaurant menus, supermarkets started selling out of quinoa, and everyone had an opinion on the best brand of Greek yogurt. Food fads are, in a sense, inevitable: Once we developed the economic means to select from a variety of foods, some tastes became more popular than others. But what determines which foods become trendy when? How do marketers, farmers, scientists, doctors, and even governments create food crazes?

Journalist David Sax, author of The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy For Cupcakes But Fed Up With Fondue, visits Zócalo to explore why certain dishes take hold of our collective passion, why others, like Crystal Pepsi, lack staying power, and what impact trends like putting bacon on everything and the rise of the food truck have on our economy and our culture.

ABOUT ZOCALO:

Zocalo is an Ideas Exchange presenting an innovative blend of live events and humanities journalism.

A few years ago, it felt like you couldn’t walk into a bakery, celebrate a birthday, or even attend a wedding without coming across a cupcake. Just as suddenly, kale salads colonized restaurant menus, supermarkets started selling out of quinoa, and everyone had an opinion on the best brand of Greek yogurt. Food fads are, in a sense, inevitable: Once we developed the economic means to select from a variety of foods, some tastes became more popular than others. But what determines which foods become trendy when? How do marketers, farmers, scientists, doctors, and even governments create food crazes? Journalist David Sax, author of The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy For Cupcakes But Fed Up With Fondue, visits Zócalo to explore why certain dishes take hold of our collective passion, why others, like Crystal Pepsi, lack staying power, and what impact trends like putting bacon on everything and the rise of the food truck have on our economy and our culture.Zócalo Public Square, a project of the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and the New America Foundation, is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism. Based in Los Angeles and Phoenix, they present free events in cities across the U.S. and beyond, and syndicate their site’s original daily journalism to more than 100 media outlets nationwide.

At a time when our country’s public sphere is narrow and polarized, Zócalo seeks to be a welcoming intellectual space where individuals and communities can tackle fundamental questions in an accessible, nonpartisan, and broad-minded spirit.

TICKETS:

Admission to Zocalo is free but reservations are required.

To make a reservation go to: 

http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/event/where-do-food-fads-come-from/

PARKING:

Free parking at 308 S. Hill St., just south of 3rd St. Validation will be distributed at the event.

DINNER:

If there is interest, we can meet at 5:30 and graze from among the many vendors in the Market.

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  • Lia

    I just arrived in LA and wanted to go to the event but it said reservations are full now. Is that the only way to get it the event tonight? :(

    June 3, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      5'11", silver hair, blue aloha shirt+a smile! c u at 7

      1 · June 3, 2014

    • Cindy A.

      Sad I couldn't attend. Had unexpected surgery. Can someone give me a little synopsis of what was said. I have so many friends believing they need to be on gluten-free diet. What's real and what isn't? Thank you!

      June 16, 2014

  • Joan R.

    In light of Tuesday's presentation, this was too good to not share.

    Pimco’s Banet to Quit For Food Truck Selling Sandwiches

    Jeremie Banet, a fund manager at Pacific Investment Management Co. specializing in inflation-protected bonds, plans to leave the firm to start a food truck business in Los Angeles and Orange County.

    June 5, 2014

  • Ace

    David Sax was quite entertaining and took lots of questions. I very much enjoyed the presentation and meeting Lia, Theresa and Vern. Running into non-Meetup friends was an extra bonus. GCM Really should have been open. They deopped the ball on this one. Absolutely illogical to have a "FOOD" event and no food available for purchase.

    1 · June 4, 2014

    • Lia

      I agree wish GCM was open! But great meeting you too :)

      June 5, 2014

  • Darrell

    Excellent turnout... free wine/beer as always, engaging speaker... Mexicali food after...

    1 · June 4, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    XLNT speaker, tyvvm David, whole forum thoughtfully put together

    1 · June 3, 2014

  • Wilson T.

    Talk was not as interesting as I tought it would be. Not a good location for acoustics and found it difficult to hear the guy at times esp. when heavy traffic went by. Plus, all food places were closed by 6pm ... as scheduled :-( Luckily the Redwood Bar was just a block away, hence I bumped up the rating by an extra star. Didn't stay for wine so can't rate that

    June 3, 2014

  • Dawn

    Loved this forum!

    1 · June 3, 2014

  • Katie B.

    I'm hate to cancel since I was looking forward to this event but with Dodgers traffic, 2 accidents, roadblocks, etc., I'm making minimal progress on the road. Freeing up my tickets (under Katie Bun + 1 guest). Have fun!

    June 3, 2014

  • Naia

    If anybody needs a ticket, please tell them my name (Naia Waters) if you want to use my ticket. Since I had Ro cancel it is available and Zocolo doesn't usually ask for ID.

    June 3, 2014

  • Naia

    Am way across the metropolis and will not be able to make it in time.

    June 3, 2014

  • Lia

    If anyone has an extra plus 1 please let me know :)

    June 3, 2014

  • Darrell

    My guess is they will be meeting downstairs...

    June 3, 2014

  • Darrell

    Anyone want to meet before the event for some EggSlutting or some other good eats?

    1 · June 3, 2014

  • Ace

    As Joan noted, Grand Central will be open late. And, ALL vendors will be open.

    June 2, 2014

  • Joan R.

    I called the market. They will be open later than 6:00 for dining.

    June 2, 2014

    • Ace

      For special events they stay open until 8 generally.

      June 2, 2014

  • Joan R.

    Anyone taking the Metro? I'm not worried about the trip down, but would like someone to walk back to the Pershing Square Station.

    June 2, 2014

    • Tom D

      But not the metro.

      June 2, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      also taking RED line, Joan; see you there!

      June 2, 2014

  • Darrell

    I hope Eggslut or Sticky Rice will be open...

    June 2, 2014

  • Darrell

    Has everyone reserved their tickets?

    1 · June 2, 2014

  • Ace

    David Sax has an Op-Ed in the weekend LA Times. I enjoyed it and recommend it.

    June 1, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Might be only one of us for grazing, but we're coming.

    May 25, 2014

  • Darrell

    I reserved a ticket plus 1

    May 4, 2014

  • SoCal S.

    I am ticketed and will join for grazing.

    April 7, 2014

  • Rande F.

    I reserved my ticket

    April 7, 2014

  • Naia

    I reserved my ticket and will join everyone for grazing.

    April 7, 2014

  • Jon

    We'll be there at 5:30 to graze!

    April 7, 2014

  • Tom D

    I reserved my ticket.

    April 7, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I vote for grazing...Grand Central Market has awesome pupusas!

    April 7, 2014

  • Steve M

    I'd be up for some pre-talk grazing.

    April 7, 2014

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