Friday, February 27, 2015

books about food

Like mostly everything in my life, I started cooking through books. What I mean is, that every time I decide to learn something new, or every time I find myself in a circumstance I'm unprepared for, I turn to books to inspire and inform me. 

When I got married I couldn't cook to save my life. Really, it's true. I was really lucky that my husband was a great cook and enjoyed it, so for several months things went on in this manner- he cooked, I made salad and washed dishes. 

At some point, I was in a bookstore and picked up a copy of the Pioneer Woman's first cookbook. I was drawn in by the story her recipes told, the beautiful photographs, and her funny and laid back style of writing. I then decided that I needed to learn to cook. 

So. I did what any self-respecting bookworm would do. I went out and got another cookbook that would teach me the basics. The one I picked was Jamie's Food Revolution. For months, I made things from this book, slowly learning how to cook the perfect rice or a good basic soup, and discovering that I could do things like make my own granola and salad dressing. It was empowering and enlightening to say the least. 

At some point, I gathered enough confidence to step away from the cookbooks and start out on my own. But I still do love a good book about food. Today I thought I would share a few of my favorites. These are a mix of memoirs, essays and recipes and I highly recommend each one.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver)

I love love LOVE Barbara Kingsolver. Her writing regularly knocks me over and this book is no exception. Beautifully written and fascinatingly informative, it chronicles her family's adventure of eating as locally as possible for an entire year. Obviously I don't have a farm, but I still learned a ton from this book.

Bread and Wine (Shauna Niequest)

This is a wonderful collection of essays about food and nourishment and life around the table. I have made a whole stack of the recipes in this book and many I've returned to again and again. Beautiful and accessible, it's a great read for any foodie.

My Life in France (Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme)

I have to say, I picked this up after watching (and LOVING) the movie Julie and Julia but I was not disappointed. I found it fascinating to read about Julia Child's cooking journey and the process she went through to write her cookbooks. It's so inspiring that she didn't come to cooking until her late 30's, but that it then became her life's work and passion. The focus of the book is really on her story, but food and cooking play a giant part in that.

The Omnivore's Dilemma (Michael Pollan)

This book is a little more research-based than the others, but I found it an interesting and informative read. Michael Pollan explores each of our different food systems and really wrestles with the question of how we choose what we eat. I've heard good things about some of his other books, and am curious to check them out as well. 

So there are a few of my favorites. Up next, I'm hoping to get my hands on a copy of The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather and A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg.

Any suggestions? I'm always looking for more books to stack onto my ever-growing reading list! 


  1. Thanks for the book suggestions! It's so interesting to read about other people's journey to cooking. I am such a book person myself but for cooking I've found books don't help me much. I suppose I just needed to find my own approach :)

    1. it's so true- everyone needs to find their own approach for sure. I think that's why I now gravitate towards books like these that are really more reflections about food and cooking rather than actual cook books. Just needed to get a few basics down first- I really was helpless to begin with ;)