I’ll just include a list of things I’ve read or, in the rare case, things that have been highly recommended, in this drab space. If I haven’t personally read it there be no a review and I’ll make sure to note its just a pass along.
Michael Pollan‘s In Defense of Food is my top pick for what to read now. It quite concisely details a description of what food is and why we should eat it. The book is rather short and an easy one to read through. The slogan he hands out in the beginning pages is one I actually plan to get tattooed on my arm. Unfortunately it takes a journalist to give us an easy to follow common sense guide to how to shop and what to eat. This either bodes badly for either our intelligence or the foggy ethics of a dominant food industry. Read this book now.
The River Cottage Meat Book is the only book of its type I’ve been able to find. It promotes an ethical approach to raising, cooking, killing, eating meat. All done from an expert point of view with an emphasis on conscience. It shows the main types of meat and goes into detail about the sections of meat and how to best cook them.
Overall it gives an incredibly well thought out approach to buying the right ingredients, putting forth a strong argument on why treating animals ethically is not only good for them, but tastier for us.
Alice Waters was a great influence in a food revolution: slow food. The history of slow food I’ll leave you to google, but once you have, this is a must have book. It is not just a cookbook, but a book on how to cook. Included are the essentials of mise en place for the home, cooking styles and equipment needed. Tons of small things the average cook is missing out on in a prepackaged, heat to order food culture.
Once we leave the mess and slow down to not only eat healthy, but enjoy our food, the average cook and foodie will make exhaustive use of this volume.
And if you ever get the chance, which I unfortunately have not, stop in at Chez Panisse in California and see for yourself.
Then of course there is the original food rebel, Anthony Bourdain. His first step into the written world that would eventually lead to more writing and an incredible show on the Travel Channel, was Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.
I have to put this book up here since it was a strong influence for my decision to stick with cooking and finally end up in culinary school. Plus it’s just a fun read.
The book was originally very controversial, showing a side of the culinary world let to the professionals. Exposing unsavory and downright illegal acts happening in kitchens across the globe. Well, so what. The truth is the kitchen attracts (or did) all types of miscreants and fringe personalities because there are never enough people to fill all the food service jobs out there. The book takes a good look at the not-so-glamorous side existing behind those kitchen doors.
Then there are three reference works that are a must have for any serious food lover. The Food Lover’s Companion, The Cheese Lover’s Companion, and The Wine Lovers Companion. Each of these is simply a comprehensive work on the different subjects. Have them and keep getting updated version (especially of the wine lovers companion).
- Chez Panisse Responds to Michelin Star Stripping (sfist.com)
- Apps in the Kitchen (livingstonbuzz.com)
- The Lonely Planet Blog: Alice Waters’ Culinary Tour (huffingtonpost.com)
- Chez Panisse Chef David Tanis Talks Dinner Parties Expert Interview (thekitchn.com)
- TOP FOOD AND WINE BOOKS AS GIFT IDEAS FOR THE HOLIDAY, part two (gothicepicures.blogspot.com)