Let your brain take a break from melting in front of the never ending black hole of Netflix and writing papers, and take a moment to read a book about food (yes, there are people that still do that for fun these days).
1. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
If you have the burning desire to learn a LOT about corn, this book is for you. In this natural history of of food, Michael Pollan takes readers on a journey to deconstruct what goes into a typical American meal. Pollan does his own research to find out just exactly where all the food we eat comes from and what problems are created by its production. Pollan works to solve the mystery of the origins of the food we eat in our everyday lives, when we usually do not give it a second thought.
2. Cooked by Michael Pollan
We are the only species in history that cooks our food to make into something that is more edible and flavorful. In his most recent book, Pollan discusses how we cook using the four elements – earth, wind, fire and water. Recently made into a Netflix original documentary series, Cooked is divided into these four elements. Pollan follows four different cooks to learn how they use the elements to transform their food.
3. Food Whore by Jessica Tom
In this novel, Michael Saltz is a food critic for the New York Times, but when he loses his ability to taste, his job is in jeopardy. He then meets Tia Monroe, a graduate studying food writing. He recognizes that Tia has an extraordinary taste in food and he offers her the opportunity of a lifetime: to be his new food taster. When Tia makes Saltz more successful than ever before, he takes credit for all of her work, and she needs to decide what to do about it.
4. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran-Foer
We are a nation that classifies only a handful of animals as being edible, but why? Why do we have no problem with eating a cow, but could never imagine eating our pet dog? As Americans we are in quite a predicament, and Safran-Foer works to solve it in this book.
5. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
Learn the truth behind your favorite nuggets and fries. This book talks about everything you wish you didn’t know about the fast food industry. From the people who make it to the processes used to do it, Schlosser reveals the horrifying stories behind the food millions of us eat mindlessly everyday.
6. Heat by Bill Buford
Bill Buford’s love affair with Italian food takes him behind the scenes to the kitchen of the New York restaurant, Babbo, owned by the world renowned Italian cook, Mario Batali. This is where Bill realizes that he actually knows very little about cooking. He must work harder than ever before and he must learn on the fly, receiving unavoidable cuts, bruises and burns along the way. Bill hopes to follow in Batali’s footsteps in the efforts to one day open a restaurant of his own.
7. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain is known for his brutal honesty when it comes to food. In his book, he reveals the truth behind what it is actually like to work inside of a professional kitchen in order to smash the stereotypes associated with it as proposed by the media. Bourdain takes us behind the scenes to show how much work really goes into a single meal. The book is organized by “courses,” so it is as if the reader is actually consuming the book while reading it.
8. Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss
The processed food industry has become virtually inescapable. Processed food contains dangerously high levels of salt, sugar and fat, which is causing our health to deteriorate more rapidly than ever before. Moss discusses the addiction humans have with processed foods, and how big companies take advantage of our addiction to fuel their markets, and fill their pockets.