Preview: The Science Friday Book Club Reads ‘Lost Feast’

Lenore Newman explores the history (and extinction) of some food favorites in ‘Lost Feast.’ We’ll read it together this spring.

illustrated stack of books with text "scifri book club"

This story is a part of our spring Book Club conversation about ‘Lost Feast: Culinary Extinction and the Future of Food.’ Want to participate? Join our new online community space or record a voice message on the Science Friday VoxPop app.


The Science Friday Book Club is back this spring! Last season, we read speculative fiction stories by people of color and were taken to far away planets, alternative realities and not-too-distant futures. 

a book cover reads "Lost Feast: Culinary Extinction and the Future of Food" by Lenore Newman, with an image of a passenger pigeon laying as if on the book cover with a large x behind it, taking up the entire cover

This time, we invite our readers to explore food security, culinary extinction and the future of food with Lenore Newman’s Lost Feast: Culinary Extinction and the Future of Food (Bookshop) (Indiebound). Published in 2019, the book takes us back to the death of the dodo, marks the passing of the passenger pigeon, and mourns the mammoth—while also asking what they tasted like. We learn about pear species of years past, trace the fickle path of vanilla pollination, and ask what the Romans’ favorite herb might have tasted like.

Lost Feast is a lesson in the importance of plant and animal biodiversity, our relationship with the natural world, and what we may need to do to preserve the flavors and food traditions that matter most. Spring Book Club kicks off on April 16, 2021.

Want to know all the exciting things we have going on for this Book Club season? Check out all the details below.


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Powell’s Books Partnership

As always, we encourage you to start with Powell’s Books, our Science Friday Book Club partner, when looking to get your copy of the book. They are offering 20% off purchases of Lost Feast throughout our Book Club!


Join Our ‘Lost Feast’ Cooking Class

We’ve teamed up with The League of Kitchens to create a lost feast in our own homes with an online cooking class! On May 16, Uzbek instructor Damira will guide you through making two of her family recipes: sambusas (baked pastry with a savory filling) and a small salad featuring pears and bell peppers.

Plus, we’ll be joined by Rachel Meyer, research director in conservation genomics at the University of California, coauthor of Botany at the Bar: The Art and Science of Making Bitters, and ancient food and medicines obsessive. Rachel will do a food science deep dive while our sambusas are baking! It will be a food-tastic, science-filled evening!

Buy Tickets Online


Checkout The Book From Our Partner Libraries

You can now checkout the book from our partner libraries with no waiting! Science Friday has partnered with two libraries to offer their communities unlimited checkouts of the Lost Feast eBook via OverDrive for the duration of the Spring Book Club! That means no more waiting in a digital queue—all card-carrying members of our partner libraries’ systems can download the book now, free of charge and without the wait.


Read An Excerpt (Or A Whole Chapter)

Not sure this is the book for you? Want to read an excerpt before you commit? We got you. ECW, the publisher of Lost Feast, has graciously offered SciFri Book Clubbers not just a snippet, but a whole chapter to sample. Click the link below to read the excerpt on our website and download Chapter 3: Across the Sea of Grass.

Read The Excerpt


Save The Date(s)! SciFri Book Club Calendar

Mark your calendars, because the Spring 2021 season of SciFri Book Club kicks off on April 16, 2021. Find a full list of our events on our Book Club events page, or scroll down to RSVP.

You can RSVP to all of our events!


Join Our Community Space

And as you start reading, join us on our online community space: the Science Friday Book Club is now on Mighty Networks, a platform where we can gather and read together. We’ve built this community space because you told us you wanted a better way to be connected with other SciFri Book Clubbers, and we hope you’ll join us there. You can learn more about why (and how) we created this new space here.

Join Our Community

Meet the Writers

About Christie Taylor

Christie Taylor is a producer for Science Friday. Her day involves diligent research, too many phone calls for an introvert, and asking scientists if they have any audio of that narwhal heartbeat.

About Diana Montano

Diana Montano is the Outreach Manager at Science Friday, where she creates live events and partnerships to delight and engage audiences in the world of science.

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