My favorite food books, and a few I’d like to read

24 Dec

I like reading about food almost as much as I love eating it.  My food-related interests are broad– I like to read about growing food and food production, cooking, nutrition, and food culture.

Food Politics by Marion Nestle is my all time favorite food book.  It’s a must read for all Americans, not just “foodie” types.

The book synopsis calls this book “accessible,” but it is truly a dense book.  Nestle is a Professor and Nutritionist at NYU.  In Food Politics, Nestle guides the reader through the food Industry (with a capital “I”), including the ugly worlds of subsidies, additives, and processing.  Her writing is balanced and without judgment, but it exposes information important and ugly about the American food Industry.  It is a must read.

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain


I admit it, I’m a sucker for Anthony Bourdain. I love his shows, his books, his everything.   Bourdain strips all glamour from the idea of working as a chef, and gleefully shares all the nitty gritty.  From time to time I had toyed with the idea of wondering if I’d ever like to be a chef.  I read this book and realized I’d hate it (but it certainly is fun to read about other peoples’ adventures as chefs).  Kitchen Confidential’s a great read for a long plane ride, or a lazy weekend.  Kitchen Confidential is a fast read, and I thought it was a lot of fun.

The Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Although I’ve never been a vegan, I was a vegetarian for a long long time (before I got pregnant with Baby Beez).  The Veganomicon is a vegan cookbook, but it’s also a perfect cookbook for all kinds of kitchens.  It contains delicious recipes, and amazing useful information on cooking techniques, including cooking from dried beans and all kinds of different grains.  This cookbook enabled me to diversify our meals, with healthy and easy-to-make options.

Food books I’m interested in:

The Family Home by Ferran Adria

My friend Christine and I had unreasonable dreams of dining at el bulli, which all came crashing down in July when the restaurant closed.  Pioneer of molecular gastronomy, Ferran Adria, has published a book of home cooking.  With his reputation, I wouldn’t be shocked if these recipes are still above my skill level…but I’d like to give this book a read nonetheless.

Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses, by Meredith Mileti

This debut novel is about a NYC chef/restauranteur whose marriage crumbles, and she decides to return with her daughter to Pittsburgh….so (1) Food, (2) Pittsburgh, and (3) Powerful working mom.  This book fits right into my interests!  I bought it as a birthday present for Christine, who is a much bigger foodie than I am, and she really enjoyed it, so I’m hoping it’s a good one!

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

I feel like I’m the only person in the United States that hasn’t read this book…I think it may cover a lot of the same ground as Food Politics or Fast Food Nation.  I’m seeing Michael Pollan speak in January with the Pittsburgh Speakers Series, and I’d like to have read this before the talk.

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