Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Good Food Books

We never posted a book list before, but 2012 did have a lot of good food books.  Here is a list from the Serious Eats website: The10 Best Non-Cookbook Food Books of 2012  by Leah Douglas 
The American Way of Eating, by Tracie McMillanJournalist Tracie McMillan went undercover as a vegetable picker, Walmart employee, and Applebee's waitress. She shares the struggle and discrimination faced every day by workers in difficult service jobs. Her experiences are rigorously recollected, and her writing keeps you turning the page with avid, and sometimes morbid, curiosity. Highly recommended for readers interested in the behind-the-scenes of our food system.
Change Comes to Dinner, by Katherine GustafsonThis book highlights food programs across the country that are working to change our industrial food system. Whether by gardening in the inner-city or by growing heirloom beans, the change-makers that Gustafson highlights are making the food scene more delicious. Definitely a pick-me-up! 

French Kids Eat Everything, by Karen Le BillonThis book created quite a conversation among commenters when my review first ran in May. Le Billon tells the story of how moving her family to France, and adopting French eating and cooking habits, cured her children of picky eating and made their diets much more healthful. She provides lots of quick tips for parents struggling to introduce veggies or dissuade pickiness. A great book if you're an aspiring or new parent looking for advice, or if you're a seasoned vet interested in comparing your methods to the French.

Greenhorns, edited by Paula Manalo, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, and Zoe Ida BradburyGreenhorns tells the stories of many young and beginning farmers from across the U.S. The book is a series of essays, which tell stories of success, dreams, love, and failure on the farm. Many of the essays are beautifully written and all are inspiring. This was one of my favorite reads of the year. 

My Berlin Kitchen, by Luisa WeissWeiss is author of the popular blog The Wednesday Chef. In her memoir, she chronicles a young adulthood spent feeling rootless and unsettled. Half-Italian but raised in Berlin, the kitchen was the only place she felt comfortable combining her various heritages. Laced with recipes and a happy love story, this book is an easy read for snuggling by the fire.
The Good Food Revolution, by Will AllenWill Allen is a well-known farmer and activist based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His greenhouses employ dozens of inner-city youths from Milwaukee, and his trainings draw farmers and allies from across the country. In this book, he tells his compelling story—from growing up on a farm to playing professional basketball, and how he found his life's calling in an abandoned flower shop in the middle of a struggling city. His is an inspiring and joyful story.
Uncorked, by Marco PasanellaIn this book, Pasanella shares his experiences opening and running a successful wine shop in New York City. Pasanella is a great writer, and he provides a different perspective on the restaurant industry than many chef memoirs do. He shows us the nitty gritty of running a small business and the unique challenges and joys of being a wine purveyor. Great for wine lovers or for budding beverage entrepreneurs.

Why Calories Count, by Marion Nestle and Maldon Nesheim  Marion Nestle is arguably the country's preeminent nutritionist, often quoted in news sources around the world and a prolific author on food politics. Her newest book explores the question of whether caloric intake directly affects weight gain (her answer, perhaps implied by the title, is yes). This is not just another diet book, though—Nestle is a scholar, and her material is rigorously researched and thoroughly convincing. A great read for any food policy or nutrition dorks out there.

Yes, Chef, by Marcus SamuelssonIn my review of this book, I wrote that it was the "pinnacle of chef memoirs," and I stand by that declaration. Full of compelling emotion and laced with humor and humility, Yes, Chef tells the story of Marcus Samuelsson, an Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised, French-trained chef who has opened two envelope-pushing restaurants in Harlem, New York. His story is inspiring but human, and left me drooling to eat at one of his new joints.

Birdseye, by Mark Kurlansky

Kurlansky has already proven himself to be one of the most rigorous and prolific food historians of our time with his bestselling books, Salt, Cod, and The Big Oyster. His newest book explores the mind and successes of Clarence Birdseye, who revolutionized the frozen food industry. This history is engaging and personal, and celebrates Birdseye's quirky personality and unique genius.

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