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Food Consciousness

Books about how and why we eat the way we do.

Heat
Buford, Bill
Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany
TX723.2.T86 B83 2006x
The book opens with the dinner party at which Buford meets his future mentor Mario Batali. Buford works the various stations in one of Batali's restaurant's kitchens and travels to Italy to study the technical proficiencies of a Tuscan butcher. This wonderfully detailed and highly amusing book is a passionate homage to the rapidly declining traditions of handmade food.
 
Last Chance to Eat
Mallet, Gina
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
TX635.M35 2004
In this evocative account of the fate of food, Gina Mallet writes about the last fifty years as westerners have gone from loving food to fearing it, frightened by food science and spooked by medical doctors. Mallet traces the history of five popular foods, including an investigation into why we can't grow a hundred varieties of peas the way the Victorian gardeners did. Her poignant book includes recipes for twenty of the author's old-time favorite dishes.
 
The Unprejudiced Palate
Pellegrini, Angelo
The Unprejudiced Palate: Classic Thoughts on Food and the Good Life
TX633.P3823 2005
From the man who is credited with starting the American food revolution fifty years before it happened, this is a new edition of a 1948 memoir written in order to share an old-world belief in taking time to slow down and savor life. Pellegrini passionately recommends choosing from among the most abundant, inexpensive, and highly nutritious foods, which means eating locally and seasonally. Read him for inspiration: plant a few herbs! Spend a worthwhile hour preparing dinner!
 
The Omnivore's Dilemma
Pollan, Michael
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
GT2850.P65 2006
The book is organized in sections that include a discussion of industrial farming; organic food, both as big business and on a relatively small farm; and what it is like to hunt and gather food for oneself. Pollan believes that our nation is living with a national eating disorder. His book may help raise your consciousness about eating.
 
Perfection Salad
Shapiro, Laura
Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century
TX173 .S44 1986
Perfection Salad presents an entertaining and erudite social history of women and cooking at the turn of the twentieth century. Laura Shapiro uncovers our ancestor's widespread obsession with food, offering clues to the origins of our attitudes about food. In doing so, she tells us why we think as we do about food today.
 
Steingarten, Jeffery
The Man Who Ate Everything and Other Gastronomic Feats, Disputes, and Pleasurable Pursuits
TX631.S74 1998x
Steingarten, who left a successful law practice to become food journalist for two popular magazines, is one my favorite story tellers. The frequently hilarious essays collected in this volume show a lawyer's relentless commitment to research and emphasize good eating over an obsession with health. Driven by a huge appetite, Steingarten goes to great lengths to learn all he can about a particular food-related topic, then tests the ideas in his home kitchen.
 
Root, Waverley
Food: An Authoritative and Visual History and Dictionary of the Foods of the World
TX349.R58
Published in 1980, this meticulously researched encyclopedic dictionary contains over 200 essays on the most common foods, with shorter entries on the uncommon. Highly informative, witty, and often very funny, Food provides great reading-aloud material between dinner and dessert.
 
The Best Thing I Ever Tasted
Tisdale, Sallie
The Best Thing I Ever Tasted: The Secret of Food
TX353.T53 2000
Although we like to feel that our choices about eating are deliberate and rational, many of our food decisions are dictated to us--by a culture that's more obsessed than ever with how we eat, by a food industry that tells us what we can and can't consume, and by our own food hang-ups. Tisdale helps readers to see the big picture, in which she ties together history, folklore, personal anecdote and sharp analysis to show that we truly are what we eat.
 

Updated: 1/7/2010