My husband observed the other day, “You read a lot about food.” It’s true. Food politics and cookbooks are fascinating to me. I love to fill my brain with little nuggets of food wisdom (and also “ooh” and “ah” over photos of dishes I will never make).
A lovely way to spend a Sunday is to browse a bookstore or a library to your heart’s content. Here’s my Saturday night list to prepare you for Sunday morning. These are my personal recommendations for Food and Cooking books that are worth your time. Although 2 young children tend to take much of my attention, by some strange miracle I’ve managed to read them all.
What to Eat – Marion Nestle
Marion Nestle (no relationship to the Nestle food company) has a litany of higher education degrees that will make your head spin. But despite all of her book smarts, she really knows how to explain food to the masses. Learn about meat irradiation, if organic means more nutritious, country-of-origin labels. A great resource to answer many of your questions about food.
My Life in France – by Julia Child
The Julia portion movie “Julie and Julia” is based on this book. The chapter on Julia Child’s research on how to make an authentic French “Bouillabaisse” hits home how tenacious a researcher Julia was. The kinds of questions she researches: What kind of fish is this? And why does it go by several names in French? Which is the right name? How would that be translated into English? What’s a good substitute for the American cook since this fish is available only in this part of the world?
This is one of those “read it, then see the movie” books.
Jaime’s Food Revolution – By Jamie Oliver
The companion recipe book to my television obsession as of late, “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution“. I can’t say enough good things about his TV show. Advanced foodies won’t need this book, but it’s pretty, I like his show, so it’s in my collection. Be sure to sign Jamie Oliver’s Petition to save cooking skills and improve school food.
Fast Food Nation (The Dark Side of the All-American Meal) – By Eric Schlosser
The chapter “Why the Fries Taste So Good” is worth the price of admission. Did you know that most of the flavor and aroma for fast food comes from factories off of the New Jersey turnpike? Journalist Eric Schlosser will teach you things that will make you want to cover your eyes and mouth. If you like fast food – be brave and read this.
Mindless Eating (Why We Eat More than We Think) - By Brian Wansink
Brian Wansink has been called the “Sherlock Holmes of Food”. I love the way he picks apart “eat this” persuasion tactics like flowery language on a menu, wine labels, or “free” popcorn. You’ll feel like a real smarty when you can rattle off why that chain restaurant gave its cheapest ingredients dish the extra-special-graphic-design-treatment on its menu.
What are your favorite food and cooking books?
Lovely book photo is courtesy of Emiline220