Books for Any Appetite
My insatiable appetite for good food is matched by a similar craving for books. When the two converge I simmer up some tea, huddle under the covers and don't come out 'til I've read my fill. Months pass, friends forget what I look like ...such is the life of a foodie. Not to worry, though - I've emerged from this year's reading room bearing a trio of recommendations. These are not cookbooks (though they do contain recipes), but food-related books that will have you laughing, thinking and maybe even changing the way you eat.
Best Food Writing 2007
Edited by Holly Hughes
This compilation of the very best in food-related writing from 2007 includes pieces by Barbara Kingsolver, Anthony Bourdain, Frank Bruni and a host of other familiar names. Covering dozens of topics ("Porno Burrito" by Jonathan Gold; "The Japanese Paradigm" by John Kessler; "The Best Burger" by Raymond Sokolov) in easily-digestible 3-5 page tidbits, this book is perfect to tuck in your handbag for reading here and there at lunch or waiting in line at the bank. Or you could just devour it all in one afternoon like I did.
Eat, Drink and Be Gorgeous:
A Nutritionist's Guide to Living Well While Living it Up
By Esther Blum, MS, RD, CDN, CNS
All those letters after her name mean Esther Blum knows what she's talking about. Her book is smart, yet easy to understand. Best of all, it's funny and conversational - like a long chat with a friend about eating right and looking great. In addition to general information, Blum offers recipes for yummy *healthy* snacks and sweets, body treatments, hangover prevention/remedies, as well as supplement recommendations to aid conditions ranging from thinning hair to decreased sex drive. I dog-eared many pages in this book, and will keep it close at hand for reference.
The Omnivore's Dilemma
A Natural History of Four Meals
By Michael Pollan
Local. Grass-fed. Seasonal. Organic. Beyond Organic. These buzzwords are used over and over again in food-related journalism. To find out what they (and dozens of others) really mean, this is the book to read. In it, Michael Pollan performs a minute dissection of the American food chain and what he uncovers is fascinating, disturbing and ultimately, illuminating. The Omnivore's Dilemma was published in 2006, but it's taken me a long time to work my way through it. Eschewing scare-tactics and random, alarming factoids, Pollan instead relies on solid research and straight-up reporting to inform us about what we're piling on our plates. From the introduction: "...our eating turns nature into culture, transforming the body of the world into our bodies and minds." I found this book optimistic, in its own peculiar way - Pollan wants us to remember that knowledge is power.