Why I picked it up: Young adults are foodies. A number of studies have indicated that, compared to older Americans, they are more likely to self-identify as a foodie (Ypulse) and they also spend more on eating out, despite having relatively lower incomes (Restaurant Marketing Labs). True, foodie-ism seems to be increasingly more prevalent across generations, but is there something specific about this generation of young adults that make them even more prone to it? If so, is this an opportunity for museums as they seek to engage young adults (and teens)?
The gist of it: Overall thesis is that yes, young adults are food obsessed. Suggests that a main reason is that food is a very analog, multi-sensory experience and an antidote to their screen-based lives:
The book is very much written from the perspective of a well-educated Millennial, so while the assumptions made may hold for those with the financial resources to support "foodie-ism," they seem unlikely for those of lower socio-economic status. Goes on to explore Millennial farmers, etc.
Implications for museums: Two overall thoughts.
Read or skip? Skip. While I think the overall thesis about young adults being more food-obsessed than older adults is generally true, this book is lacking substance. Sources were scarce for the data she shared; a definite concern, especially when she states things like nearly 60% of young adults grew up in upper-middle-class or wealthy families. How is that possible? This makes me also question the direct line she draws between virtual lives and food as analog antidote. It is a good hypothesis, but not proven.
Two additional tidbits:
Full citation: Turow, Eve. A Taste of Generation Yum. (Amazon ebook)
Have a suggestion for my reading list? Email it to me at susie (at) wilkeningconsulting (dot) com.