16 Best Books About Food Update 05/2022

Books About Food

Food has been a great way to deal with all the changes this year. Having the chance to get together with our friends and families again and eat together across the table is something we’ve been missing, no doubt. It’s also a great reminder of how food can help us get along and ease tensions. This is a great way to remember that. Our top 10 books about food for 2021 are a mix of cookbooks written by new authors, books about food and culture, memoirs, and more. This “reunion” of sorts is reflected in these books. From the food of people from Central and West Africa to a trip through some of the world’s weirdest food festivals, get ready to eat.

New Native Kitchen: Celebrating Modern Recipes of the American Indian

New Native Kitchen Celebrating Modern Recipes of the American Indian

James Bitsoie used to be the executive chef at the Mitsitam Native Foods Café at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. He is also a member of the Navajo Nation, which is a Native American tribe. With James O. Fraioli, Bitsoie has written his first cookbook. It gives a taste of the flavors and history of the nearly 600 American Indian tribes in the US, with 100 modern interpretations of Indigenous recipes, like cherrystone clam soup and rabbit stew with corn dumplings, as well as new recipes. Bitsoie tells you about each recipe’s unique tribal heritage, and even has a glossary of hyperlocal foods that can be found on Native land: things like acorn meal, agave nectar, and cedar berries. The book also directs people to the people who sell them. As a Navajo, Bitsoie says, “It is important for me to respect the many ingredients that were grown by Indigenous people who took care of the land, air, and water in what we now call the United States.”

New Native Kitchen: Celebrating Modern Recipes of the American Indian

It comes from Freddie Bitsoie, who was the executive chef at the Mitsitam Native Foods Café at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and James O. Fraioli, who won a James Beard Award for his book, New Native Kitchen.

Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide

There are a lot of things you might want to know about the Atacama Desert in Chile and Panama. Then this book is for you. As a chef and the author of The Third Plate, Dan Barber says that The Third Plate is “a big project that’s also zany and ambitious.” He’s right on the money. This 448-page book is actually the work of Atlas Obscura founder Dylan Thuras and co-author Cecily Wong, who both write for AO. They put together some of the world’s most unique festivals and food and drink events, as well as culinary obscurities that are both edible and non-edible.

The book has more than 500 entries, including photos, illustrations, and stories that were first published in its online magazine (including my own). There are also tips on how to enjoy everything from a seven-course pudding “extravaganza” in England to dining in a refurbished passenger jet outside of Ghana’s Kotoka International Airport.

Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide

It was made by the curious people behind Atlas Obscura. This stunning guide shows us how people around the world eat and drink in ways we’ve never seen before. Gastro Obscura covers all seven continents and serves up a plate full of amazing ingredients, food adventures, and edible wonders that you can eat.

County Fair: Nostalgic Blue Ribbon Recipes from America’s Small Towns

County Fair Nostalgic Blue Ribbon Recipes from America’s Small Towns

Liza Gershman, the author of County Fair, is known for making cookbooks that look good. In this book, Gershman focuses on recipes that have been given the Blue Ribbon, an award of excellence that is often given out at small town, county, and state fairs. Gershman has recipes from all 50 states, as well as many 4H and FFA livestock events. In all, there are close to 80 recipes that show you how to eat food that makes you feel full and brings back memories. You can make orange lemon citrus bread, which won the Wisconsin State Fair, and triple chocolate rebel cookies that won the Best of Show prize at a fair in Illinois. If I were to say that I’m a little old-fashioned, it would be because I have one foot in the time before technology and the other in the modern world. We at the Smithsonian love small-town America, and our annual list of the best small towns to visit shows that. County Fair has full-page color photos, a chapter on pantry stocking, and even a brief history of fairs in the U.S.

County Fair: Nostalgic Blue Ribbon Recipes from America’s Small Towns

Liza Gershman’s book is a feast for the eyes. It’s full of images, stories, and voices from the people who celebrate this unique slice of Americana every year.

Black, White, and the Grey

This is how it worked: In late 2014, business partners Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano opened up a restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, inside what used to be a Greyhound bus station that used to be separate. When it opened, The Grey quickly became one of the best new restaurants in the country. Food & Wine, The New York Times, and Esquire all gave it high marks for its food and service right away.

Black, White, and the Grey is part memoir, part cookbook, and part history of both the restaurant and race relations in the South. It tells a story of food, friendship, and healing. Bailey is a Black chef, and Morisano is a white businessman. They worked together at first, but it turned into a strong bond of acceptance and understanding between two people who didn’t know each other very well. This is “one of the best and most honest books I’ve read about business,” Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief Hunter Lewis says. “[Black, White, and the Grey] is one of the best books I’ve read about business.”

Some recipes are Southern-style and easy to find. Bailey sends them each chapter with an easy-to-make recipe that is a reminder of their friendship.

Black, White, and The Grey: The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant

Queens, New York: A story about a Black chef from Queens and a white media entrepreneur from Staten Island who built a relationship and opened a restaurant in the Deep South. They wanted to break down barriers and get people talking about race and culture.

Bress ‘n’ Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth Generation Farmer

Bress ‘n’ Nyam Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth Generation Farmer

When Tiffani Rozier, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, talks about the Atlantic slave trade, she says that many Black Americans have been cut off from their own history. This lack of history and ancestral connection has always made me feel a little ashamed and frustrated, but it’s also why a new book about Gullah Geechee culture resonates so well with me now that I’ve read it. Matthew Raiford, a chef, farmer, and James Beard Award semifinalist, wrote Bress ‘n’ Nyam, which means “bless and eat” in Gullah, a Creole language that is based on English. It honors the food of Raiford’s ancestral people, the Gullah Geechee, who are descendants of Central and West Africa who live along the Atlantic coast of the South.

In 2010, Raiford and his sister took over the farm in Georgia that his great-great-great grandfather, a freed slave, bought in 1874. They now own it. Telling the story of his family history in the context of Gullah Geechee is what his book does. It has a lot of photos and more than 100 old family recipes. Among the dishes are cowpea salad, gullah rice, and a Lowcountry boil made with crab, shrimp, and sausage. All of these dishes use Gullah staple foods like Carolina Gold rice and Sea Island red peas that are still grown in the area.

Bress ‘n’ Nyam: Gullah Geechee Recipes from a Sixth-Generation Farmer

More than 100 recipes from a talented chef and farmer who has been working on the land of his great-great-great grandfather for more than 100 years.

The Secret History of Food: Strange but True Stories About the Origins of Everything We Eat

Matt Siegel, a food and culture writer, has written his first book. In it, he talks about how some foods came to be, and he talks about things like the use of honey to preserve cadavers and the belief that drinking animal milk makes you “act like an animal.” The Secret History of Food is written in a tone that is both irreverent and humorous. It looks at food from every angle, including historical, cultural, scientific, sexual, and, of course, culinary. There are chapters on corn, vanilla, and “A History of Swallowing” (a personal favorite). Shows that Siegel did his homework, and then some. The index in the book includes everything from Scotchgard fabric protector to Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Some of the information is not very tasty, but it’s never boring. Kirkus Reviews says that Siegel’s book about the history of food is not very interesting.

The Secret History of Food: Strange but True Stories About the Origins of Everything We Eat

Look at the little-known history of the foods we know and love in a way that is both irreverent and completely fun.

Provecho: 100 Vegan Mexican Recipes to Celebrate Culture and Community

Provecho 100 Vegan Mexican Recipes to Celebrate Culture and Community

Edgar Castrejón wants to change the way people think about Mexican food. Tacos with steak and tamales filled with chicken or pork are usually what people think of when they think of Mexican food. The first-generation Mexican American, who grew up in Oakland, California, studied plant science and horticulture with a minor in nutrition. In his first cookbook, he honors traditional meat-heavy Latin American dishes while making them healthier and vegan. An Amazon reviewer says, “If no one had told me that it was vegan, I would have never even thought about it. I love it!”

Many of the recipes are family favorites that have been passed down through the generations. Castrejón has finally written them down, but with plant-based changes. Among the 100 recipes in Provecho are ceviche de coliflor, a cauliflower ceviche, and no-bake enchiladas with jackfruit. The chapters are called Antojitos, which means “Little Cravings,” and La Mesa Llena, which means “The Full Table.” A lot of the book’s recipes can be made in less than half an hour.

Provecho: 100 Vegan Mexican Recipes to Celebrate Culture and Community [A Cookbook]

The best plant-based Mexican cookbook for a new generation, with 100 recipes that make traditional dishes vegan celebrations of family and home.

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir

Michelle Zauner wrote an essay for the New Yorker in 2018 about going to the Korean supermarket H Mart after her mother died. It has now been turned into a full-length memoir called “H Mart.” He is the Korean-American lead singer and guitarist for indie rock band Japanese Breakfast. He was born in Eugene, Oregon and raised there. When Zauner was 25, her mother was told she had pancreatic cancer, and she died. When she died later in the same year, that’s when she died. By telling the truth and making light of things, Zauner’s memoir is as much about a complicated relationship between her mother and daughter that ended too soon as it is about the food she eats and how it shapes who she is. The book has a lot of photos and stories about Zauner and her family that are very relatable. But it’s what happens after her mother dies, which happens about halfway through the book. The NPR book reviewer Kristen Martin says that “Zauner became herself” when she lost her mother and cooked to bring her back to life, so she was “her own person.”

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir

An unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity by the indie rock star and author of the New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book. Japanese Breakfast is the name of the indie band she founded in 2009.

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