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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!

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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…

Mark Bittman on Colbert Report

Mark Bittman promotes his new book, Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating, on the Colbert Report. This is on my to-read list – I’m eager to see how Bittman’s practical, bare-bones approach to eating, cooking, and thinking about food compares to Michael Pollan’s more convoluted approach in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Check out a review over at Serious Eats, which is giving away 5 copies of the book, as well as showcasing recipes from it all week long.

Favorite lines:
Bittman: “Serving a family of 4 a steak dinner would be the same as…driving around in your SUV for 3 hours with all the lights on at home…You don’t get both the steak and the driving around”
Colbert: “Well, I love to eat while I drive…what if I drove a Prius? Could I eat the steak at the same time?”
….
Bittman: “Well, factory-raised livestock…”
Colbert: “Delicious.”
let me see that video already!

Looking for a Good Read


My research this summer consists of reading health-blogs ALL day. Oh, it’s interesting, but I’m going to need a break at some point from reading about health, right? Most of the books on my bookshelf right now are about AIDS…so help me out – what interesting books are YOU reading?

OK, ok, this one IS about health but it looks enjoyable! I’ll have to check out “Never Shower in a Thunderstorm: Surprising Facts and Misleading Myths About Our Health and the World We Live In” By Anahad O’Connor (The “Really?” Columnist of The New York Times).

The Times intrepid health reporter investigates the truth about sex, eating, exercise, and other health conundrums. For more than two years, The Times “Really?” columnist Anahad O’Connor has tracked down the facts, fictions, and ocasional wisdom cures, and other medical mysteries. Now he opens up his case files to disclose the experts’ answers on everything from which of your bad habits you can indulge (sitting too close to the television does not hurt your eyes) to what foods don’t pack the punch advertised (you can lay off the beet juice!).

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, Participate.net, and to relevant news, blogs, and videos.

For Wayne

So has anyone read/used/looked at the recently published cookbook, The Silver Spoon? It came up today at our 4th of July cookout- most people had heard it was good, but none had actually read it. It’s apparently the Joy of Cooking of Italian cooking, the “bible” for Italian food aficionados…Meaning, it covers everything you can think of.

Extreme Makeover: Cookbook Cabinet Edition!

On a scale of 1 to 10- 10 being extremely extreme and 1 being not so extreme- this gets a 3. Ok, so not very extreme…Yesterday I decided to go through the cookbook shelf and recycle a ton of old magazine issues that are clearly taking up space because I’m not using them. If I weren’t so pro-recycling, I would be a packrat, definitely. I had to make space for several new cookbooks that have been sitting in a pile on the counter for a few weeks. But I’m planning on reorganizing the entire kitchen (at some point) and that will be quite the event…

In the meantime, I will be sitting on the back porch with a glass of iced tea (green-mint in case you were wondering) and reading my new issue of Gourmet which just came in the mail!

As you can see, I’m having a very exciting and eventful summer 😉

In Need of a Bigger Bookshelf!

We have a buttload of cookbooks and old issues of Gourmet and Cooking Light crammed into a very small cabinet in our kitchen. Soooo I thought I would take a picture to show you how ridiculously overflowing the shelves are…

Of course, we don’t use all of them. Not even close! There are probably some that have never been used once…I mean, I sort of collect cookbooks and intend to use them but don’t get around to it… But, the most frequently used are:

1. various recipes from friends/grandparents/strangers, clipped from magazines or newspapers
2. ones printed out from FoodTv.com or allrecipes.com
3. Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2005
4. The Joy of Cooking (old edition?)
5. The Whole Foods Market Cookbook
6. The Moosewood Cookbook
7. Moosewood Restaurant: Simple Suppers

How often do I actually follow a recipe? Unless I’m baking, not very often. I usually just wing it and, hey, that works for me! Actually, tonight I was trying to find a recipe for something to do with Spaghetti Squash but I didn’t end up finding one. Instead, I used several as inspiration and took it from there. What I ended up with was spaghetti squash with sauteed zucchini and spinach, topped with toasted pinenuts and mozarella cheese- YUM. Very tasty, if I do say so myself!

By the way, I put up a “What I’m Reading” section on the right- check it out!

What’s on your bookshelf?

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