Journalist David Sax is the author most recently of The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue. Before talking about how food fads are born, he fessed up about the one thing he won’t eat, shared what will clue people in to the fact that he’s Canadian, and explained what food fad of the past he wants to bring back in the Zócalo green room.
When did you last break a sweat?
I was in Portland the other day, and I finished having a big barbecue lunch and walked all the way to the top of the city, to this park above the city, in the hot sun with the Sunday New York Times under one arm. I got lost and was just climbing through the bush with this 7-pound newspaper under my arm, sweating profusely, just to sort of get to some spot where I could relax in the forest and read it. I did find that spot, but I was totally out of breath and sort of drenched.
What would your theme song be?
There’s a Brazilian song called “A Tonga da Mironga do Kabuletê” by this bossa nova artist, Vinícius de Moraes. It’s just an old favorite song of mine, but it’s sort of quick, joyous, and nonsensical, which is how I want to live my life.
What food won’t you eat?
I don’t like anchovies on pizza. I like anchovies. I don’t like them on pizza. They just overtake it.
What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?
To marry my wife. And the second-best one was to have a kid.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a journalist. I used to get Newsweek sent to summer camp when I was 10 years old.
What’s the first clue that you’re Canadian?
When I ask to go to the washroom.
What do you wake up to?
My baby’s cries.
Your first book was called Save the Deli. What’s the best deli in the U.S.?
There’s not just one. Whatever the one that’s nearest to your heart.
What was the last great party you attended?
My friend’s wedding in Argentina last fall. Dancing on crushed glass by the end of the night—not intentionally, but so many bottles were broken.
What food fad of the past do you most want to bring back?
Muffins. More muffins. [Not muffin tops?] You can’t have a good muffin top without the bottom. It’s like a chicken thigh without the leg.