still cookin'

food, nutrition, and health news



Favorite Food Books of 2011

I had wanted to post a list of favorite food books that I’ve read in the past year, so I browsed by Goodreads list to jog my memory. In doing so, I realized I’d only read two. Just two. I guess my reading for pleasure was eclipsed by my reading for class, and I only managed to squeeze in a few food books this year. That, and reading Townie took me at least three months (highly recommend though – very good, but long and dense!).

  • Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life by Kim Severson – Kim Severson, former food writer for the New York Times, beautifully recalls the influence of food and cooking on her life, from childhood through her battle with alcoholism. This was easily one of the best books I read all year.
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard – I’m a sucker for anything written about Paris and food, so this was a pleasure to read having recently been to Paris (and still dreaming about the food). The love story is cheesy, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the drool-inducing recounting of French meals and recipes.

I also received a few food books for Christmas that I’m excited to dig into:

Happy reading!

Food Books Round-up!

When I’m not reading for school, you can usually find me with my nose stuck in a book about food. If you’re looking for a new book to read, check out the options below, all of which are available in my Amazon store.

  • Michael Pollan has been promoting the newly illustrated version of his book, Food Rules. If you already own the first version, you can preview some of the beautiful drawings by artist Maira Kalman online. I’ll definitely be purchasing the book in hard copy – but what I really want are prints to hang in my house! [The Atlantic]
  • Penguin Books (UK) recently released a Great Food Series of food books with lovely new covers by British artist, Coralie Bickford-Smith. The unique covers were “inspired by a ceramic pattern from the same period in which the book was originally released.” Too bad I don’t need any more books about food – but these would make a great holiday gift for the foodie in your life!  [The Kitchn]
  • In Fed Up With Lunch, a teacher blogged anonymously about her experience eating public school lunches every day for 1 year. Secretly snapping photos of her meals and asking students what they thought of the food, she reveals some disturbing truths about what America’s kids are being served for lunch. Check out her blog too.
  • I’m currently reading Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes and loving it. Ok, so the story is pretty cheesy – but I can’t help drooling over descriptions of scrumpti0us meals, walks through Parisian food markets, and simple French recipes.

Books: Food Matters

mark-bittman-hog-lgAfter weeks of procrastinating, I finally finished Food Matters: A Guide to Conscientious Eating, the new diet/lifestyle/food politics book by Mark Bittman. Bittman, whom you may know from his popular cookbooks How to Cook Everything and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian as well as his weekly columns and blog posts in the New York Times. Some of you may even follow him on Twitter now! Bittman is best known for his bare-bones approach to cooking, with a emphasis on simple food and minimal preparation – resulting in delicious, ridiculously easy dishes.

In his new lifestyle book, after a brief overview of the evils of Big Food, the failures of the American agricultural system, and bashing the typical American diet, Bittman tells us what we should eat: less meat and dairy, less processed foods, and more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Wait a minute, didn’t Michael Pollan say that in In Defense of Food? “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Pollan defines food as whole foods, ideally things with less than 5 ingredients. Bittman does essentially the same thing. So, what’s the difference?

read on…

So R. and I made dinner last night – the boy can cook! Apparently he was serious this time when he said he wanted to learn how to cook…He bought Tyler Florence’s Tyler’s Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Any Time and got to work. Florence’s recipes are easy, and always look and sound delicious, as I know from watching his show on FN. We made the Baked Rigatoni with Eggplant and Turkey Sausage, and the Simple Green Salad, with rave reviews!

R. also bought The Dorm Room Diet, which I had been eyeing for awhile. Not that I need nutrition advice OR a diet, but I was interested in the book because it was written by a college student. Sure, she happens to go to Princeton, and she had help from her doctor parents to write the book, but it has very practical advice from someone who has been through the college eating experience. Check it out!

Got leftovers?

It’s the week after Thanksgiving, and your fridge is still overflowing with leftovers from the big day. You’ve had your fill of turkey sandwiches, and the side dishes seem to be replenishing themselves. What to do with all those leftovers? Here’s a creative idea – Mashed Potato and Turkey Soup –  from Jimmy Bradley’s The Red Cat Cookbook.

let me have the recipe already!

For the many Americans who read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser a few years ago, it changed the way they think about fast food in the United States. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you don’t have the time, have no fear- the movie is here! Well, on November 17th it will be. Starring Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, and Greg Kinnear, it was shown at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

Check out the official movie website– it’s pretty sweet. Besides the requisite trailers, cast list, etc, it has links to the McDonald’s Corporate Responsibility Blog,, and to relevant news, blogs, and videos.

Ooooh look! Check out the New Amazon Bookstore that I’ve created. It’s quite awesome, if I do say so myself. This spiffy feature is much easier to navigate than the entire Amazon site and lets me recommend specific books. I’ll be adding more to the list as I fiddle with the setup, but please let me know if you like it or not!

Look! All organized! Aren’t you proud?

Missions Accomplished

I’m going to try to catch up on my blogging this week before I leave for vacation, but no guarantees. The internet has been iffy lately, grr. And I’ve got packing, shopping, and errands to do before Saturday!

What’s cookin’ around here:
-Cleaned out cabinet and found space for all the cookbooks! Barely. I just can’t buy any more of them…

-Tried out the new Vietnamese restaurant on Green St. (where Coral Seafood used to be). In my professional opinion (ha!), not as good as Dalat, but I’d been willing to give it another chance. The food was “eh” and the service wasn’t too great. Had takeout from Dalat last night, and it was delish as usual.

-Ordered and recieved “Heat” by Bill Buford, but haven’t started it yet. At this point, I’m in the middle of at least 3 books. Starting a 4th will probably not help the situation.

-This month’s Food & Wine issue is all about “eco-epicureanism.” I know, you’re like “Huh, whatever that is…” but it’s actually really cool stuff- thinking about where your food comes from, and striving for our health and the planet’s in the way we cook and eat and enjoy food. Keep up the good work, Dana Cowin!

-“Vegan Diet Reverses Diabetes Symptoms, Study Finds” Having worked with diabetes patients all summer, I find it interesting whenever it comes up in the Health news. Researchers could be on to something here. From what little experience I have though, I can tell you that patients are not always willing to give up their eating habits, no matter how bad they may be.

-Also about Diabetes, “Strength Training Can Help Heavy Teens Reduce the Risk of Diabetes.” Not just strength training, but any exercise is good.

Ok, that’s all for now! If you’re in the Northeast, stay cool!

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