Reading is one of my favorite ways to relax and unwind after a long day. While some people prefer picking up a romance or a true crime novel, I tend to focus more on books around my passion: food! But, these books are not to be confused with your grandmother's old recipe books from long ago. Rather, they are immersed in provocative thought around our relationship to what's on our plate. Here are some of my top picks for food politic books, many of which you can rent from your university library or purchase from a local bookstore! 

Big Hunger: The Unholy Alliance Between Corporate America and Anti-Hunger Groups

This book is so good, I wrote a whole article on it! Andy Fisher tackles questions surrounding corporate America, the emergency food system, and the end-goal of America's charity food system (which you might guess is not to feed people, but rather reinforce systems of poverty and injustice). This book will make you question everything you thought you knew about the food system and why we need to work outside of it in order to solve both domestic and global hunger. 

Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism

Sociologist Julie Guthman uses her book to tackle issues around weight stigma brought on by structural and systematic injustices within the industrial food system. She argues against the "healthism philosophy" of we just need to choose to eat healthier in order to get rid of diet-related diseases in favor of structural and institutional changes that widen food access for populations beyond the white and wealthy. It's definitely a book to check out if you're feeling fed up with the dominant Michael Pollan narrative of food literature. 

Eating Right in America 

Where did notions around "what to eat" emerge? You will find the answer within the pages of this book written by Charlotte Biltekoff. She writes mostly about how we have attached social values to food choice, most of which map on inequitably to people in larger bodies, communities of color, and less affluent populations. One of the reasons why I love this book is because Biltekoff is able to intertwine history and social science within a neat package. 

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

It wouldn't be a complete list of books if I didn't include something on America's love-affair with fast food. Schlosser's piece is well-researched and goes beyond the apolitical explanation of: Americans eat a lot of fast food because it tastes good! This piece looks into real estate, corporate wealth, and the journey McDonalds burgers make every day. Will it make you never want to eat fast food ever again? Probably. 

Pressure Cooker: Why Home Cooking Won't Solve Our Problems 

I first came across this book after it was featured on a Bite podcast and instantly fell in love with it. The authors, a group of women, focus an ethnographic-esque approach on several families in North Carolina and barriers to their food procurement. Among the anecdotes are connections to migrant food traditions, concerns over abandoning "soul food" in favor of healthier options, discussions regarding the burden of wage work on finding time to cook, and critiques of the dominant capitalist structure of our food system. Pressure Cooker challenges the idea that solving America's obsession with convenience food will be solved by simply having people (read as: mostly women) return to the kitchen. You can read a review of the book here