5 Must-Read Books About Food And Society

5 Must-Read Books About Food And Society

These must-read fiction and nonfiction books explore the connection between food and society.

1. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

“What should we have for dinner? Ten years ago, Michael Pollan confronted us with this seemingly simple question and, with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, his brilliant and eye-opening exploration of our food choices, demonstrated that how we answer it today may determine not only our health but our survival as a species. In the years since, Pollan’s revolutionary examination has changed the way Americans think about food. Bringing wide attention to the little-known but vitally important dimensions of food and agriculture in America, Pollan launched a national conversation about what we eat and the profound consequences that even the simplest everyday food choices have on both ourselves and the natural world. Ten years later, The Omnivore’s Dilemma continues to transform the way Americans think about the politics, perils, and pleasures of eating.”

2. The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty

“Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who ‘owns’ it is one of the most provocative touchpoints in our ongoing struggles over race. In this unique memoir, culinary historian Michael W. Twitty takes readers to the white-hot center of this fight, tracing the roots of his own family and the charged politics surrounding the origins of soul food, barbecue, and all Southern cuisine.”

3. Consider the Feast by Carmit Delman

“New York City is obsessed with food. Especially in the streets of The Quarter, every imaginable delicacy is made and devoured, every unspeakable hunger is fulfilled. Talia, a recent divorcee, comes to The Quarter to be reborn. She discovers fresh purpose in the sensual pleasures there, and a possible new love. But eventually she finds herself face to face with the darkness under its surface—in both the privileged patrons who feast there, and the third-world laborers who feed them. Now Talia must separate the truth from the madness because in The Quarter, the haves and have-nots are about to face a reckoning.”

4. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

“A deliciously funny, delectably shocking banquet of wild-but-true tales of life in the culinary trade from Chef Anthony Bourdain, laying out his more than a quarter-century of drugs, sex, and haute cuisine—now with all-new, never-before-published material.”

5. The Art of Eating by M. F. K. Fisher

“How wonderful to have here in my hands the essence of M.F.K. Fisher, whose wit and fulsome opinions on food and those who produce it, comment upon it, and consume it are as apt today as they were several decades ago, when she composed them. Why did she choose food and hunger she was asked, and she replied, ‘When I write about hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth, and the love of it . . . and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied.’ This is the stuff we need to hear, and to hear again and again.”Julia Child

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CONSIDER THE FEAST by Carmit Delman