I have many hobbies. Food, and everything related to food, take up a lot of my time but when I’m not eating, photographing, or cooking, I can typically be found reading. I devour books as feverishly as I devour food. Thankfully, books are better for my waistline.
“Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About” – Kevin Trudeau
In spite of the cult-like tone and the author’s obvious paranoia, this book changed the way I look at food forever. Before I read this book, I was already curious about food and its power over our bodies, but this book opened my eyes to nasty ingredients in our food and our lifestyles, such as high fructose corn syrup, MSG, processed white flours and sugars, hydrogenated oils, and parabens. The author delves into why the food and pharmaceutical companies want to keep the public in the dark about issues that may cause them diseases, such as ingredients in foods that we eat. The book is frustrating in that it gives you some information but directs you to the author’s website for more details – where you have to pay for advice. Not cool, but besides that, I gained a lot of knowledge reading this book and as a result am much more careful about what I eat now.
“Fast Food Nation” – Eric Schlosser
A non-fiction piece by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser that exposes fast food companies and their practices. The book discusses, not only the food and what goes in it (some of which will terrify you), but also how mass-production for the fast food industry has changed the US farming and meat industries forever. This book was powerful enough that I never ate from certain fast food restaurants again.
“My Life in France” – Julia Child
This book is a must read for those who love food. “My Life in France” is an autobiography of Julia’s life, with a focus on the time she spent living in France. Whilst reading this book, I discovered that I like Julia Child, not just because she was so passionate about French cooking and food, but she was also an independent, ballsy, motivated woman. I found her to be an inspiration as she travelled the world, began cooking as a hobby quite late in life, graduated from Cordon Bleu, co-write the famous cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, and became a TV icon in America. Wow. Not bad!!
Paris, My Sweet – Amy Thomas
An easy read that allows you to get lost in a world of sweets and Parisian life. The book follows the author’s move to Paris and her explorations of the city’s patisseries, chocolatiers, and boulangeries. She also gives valuable advice on New York’s sweet scene as well. I used this book as a guide for my trip to Paris and I was absolutely thrilled with the recommendations.
“Kitchen Confidential”and “Medium Raw” – Anthony Bourdain
Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Anthony Bourdain has a way with words. Personally, I find him quite arrogant but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying his perspective as a restaurant insider, with 25 years of experience in the business. It certainly makes you sympathize with those brave folks who are courageous enough to start their own restaurant but also has you thinking about what has gone on behind the scenes before your plate arrives at your table. Both “Kitchen Confidential”, his first restaurant exposé, and “Medium Raw”, the follow-up book, are engaging.
The Sweet Life in Paris – David Lebovitz
This is a laugh-out-loud recount of pastry chef, David Lebovitz’s, life in Paris. It follows David through his move to Paris and adjusting to the French way of life. David is extremely witty and I found I couldn’t put this one down. The book also contains recipes from his cooking repertoire. You can get an introduction to his writing at his fabulous food blog, www.davidlebovitz.com.
Comfort Me With Apples – Ruth Reichl
I honestly did not know much about Ruth Reichl, a well-known American food writer and critic, before I picked up this book. Ruth’s writing is very honest and candid so you feel as though she is sharing a lot of her life, not just the food side, with you. She shares details of her first job as a restaurant critic, travelling, trying new cuisines, and meeting famous chefs, like Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck. She also shows a more personal side by detailing the break down of her first marriage, the start of her second marriage, and the difficulties she faced whilst trying to have a child.
Blood, Bones and Butter – Gabrielle Hamilton
Gabrielle Hamilton writes like a female Anthony Bourdain; brutally honest. The book follows her life from a young girl learning to cook from her mother, through to her extremely interesting life (to me) as a cook in New York. Like Bourdain, some of the stories seem so outrageous that it is hard to believe that they are true but they are certainly entertaining. After years of struggling to find her feet as a chef, we follow Hamilton’s foray into starting her own restaurant (Prune in New York) and the break-down of her marriage.
So, that’s what I like to do when I’m not stuffing my face. What about you? Do you like reading food-focused books? If so, I’d love to hear what books you recommend!