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The New Mainstream:

The New Mainstream:

By Guy Garcia Rayo 2004, $24.95 (hardcover), 336 pp.

Garcia has an impressive journalistic pedigree: 13 years as a staff writer for Time magazine, a string of contributed articles in the New York Times and so forth. He's also written two novels, which promises a stylistic panache that should keep his prose from desiccating on the page.

Well, the writing's okay, but the real problem with this book is that it rarely rises above belaboring the obvious: as America becomes more multicultural, traditional marketing assumptions no longer apply.

Or, as comedian Chris Rock puts in a quote Garcia uses as an opener: "You know the world's gone crazy when the world's greatest rapper is white and the world's greatest golfer is black."

If there are useful nuggets in here for foodservice professionals looking for insights into their markets, they are buried underneath the cliches.

Garcia's discussion of food trends illustrates this perfectly.His insights— "adventurous eating is changing the business of food," "younger Americans...tend to be more culturally open-minded," etc.—are bland. But behind them are discussions of topics like how"new mainstream" pressures have elevated the overall quality of rice grown in California so that even mass-food processors now work with much higher quality ingredients.

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