1. Eating Animals (Penguin, 2011)
Part memoir, part science: novelist Jonathan Safran Foer’s takes a philosophical look at how we justify what we eat . Prepare yourself for an epiphany.
2. Manifestos on the Future of Food & Seed (South End Press, 2007)
Food activist Vandana Shiva edits a collection of papers from advocates of the slow food movement, organic farming and local eating. A choppy ride, but in the end these varied views (from the likes of Prince Charles and Michael Pollan) make a solid case for food deindustrialization.
3. Animal Vegetable Miracle: Miracle of Our Year of Sustainable Eating (Faber & Faber, 2007)
A chronicle of the year that author Barbara Kingsolver and family went to the woods, unlike Thoreau, to eat deliberately. Their radical experiment to “go locavore” explores my mom’s old gem “you are what you eat”.
4. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Penguin Press, 2006)
Michael Pollan explores modern American eating: dubious trends with far-reaching influence. If you like your wake-up calls loud and clear, crack this binding.
5. New Book of Middle Eastern Food (Alfred E. Knopf, 2000)
Claudia Roden’s original 1973 classic updated and expanded. Culled from 30 years of extensive Middle East travel, she’s concocted simple prep methods for over 800+ regional recipes from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Read it for the recipes, but also for the riveting stories behind this extraordinary food.
6. Book of Jewish Food (Alfred E. Knopf, 1996)
Oy, Claudia, again with the 800+ recipes?
Here’s the story of the Jews told through the story of their cooking, with emphasis on development of both Ashkenazic and Sephardic cuisine. Ms. Roden’s stories are as delicious as her recipes.
7. Appetites (Counterpoint Press, 2003)
It’s sad to tag this as an “anorexia” book. Sadder still that its author died before publishing more of her sagacious take on the modern female experience. Caroline Knapp’s memoir of her war with self-image expands to explore wider cultural messages. It’s a powerful call to all women to learn what it is to “feed both the body and the soul”.