As Central Oregon basks in the balmy days of summer and locals spend more time in lawn chairs, sitting by pools and lounging on beaches, I can't resist recommending some good food reads. Included are some readable cookbooks, a little fiction, a biography or two, and, of course, a dash of food politics.
by Michael Pollan
If ever there was a book to change your eating habits, this is it. Michael Pollan follows the food chain of four meals: industrial (the way most of us eat), industrial organic (the Whole Foods crowd), pastoral (the way our great-great grandparents ate) and hunter/gatherer (the way Ted Nugent eats). It's a fascinating journey as Pollan illuminates what the act of eating has become and should be required reading for all Americans.
Although this book hit the stores six years ago, I have just gotten to it; I'm not sure what I was waiting for. Taylor perfectly blends satire, obsession and lots of cooking in this debut novel that follows Vancouver chef Jeremy Papier as he tries desperately to keep his bistro out of the hands of a slimy financial backer, solve a murder mystery in Stanley Park, all while preparing detailed meals steeped in culinary tradition.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
by Barbara Kingsolver
Kingsolver, one of my favorite contemporary authors, takes on a self-imposed challenge of eating only what she can grow or find in her own neighborhood. After moving to a family farm in Appalachia, Kingslover learns to grow, harvest, and preserve their own food - or go without. Part journalistic investigation, part wry narrative, and part substantive dialog on our national "eating disorder," it's a full literary meal wrapped in Kingsolver's beautiful prose.
Super Natural Cooking: Five Ways to Incorporate Whole and Natural Ingredients Into Your Cooking
by Heidi Swanson
Creator of the popular website, 101 Cookbooks, Swanson has a wonderful new cookbook that covers far more than recipes. As the subtitle claims, this is a guide to incorporating whole foods into your diet presented in a conversational and assessable way. Not since Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions has there been a more useful, interesting and eye-opening kitchen tome.
I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
by Amy Sedaris
Although she claims in the first few pages that this is not a joke book, Sedaris delivers plenty of crass wit and self-deprecating humor. Recipes incorporating crushed potato chips, tips on what to do with pantyhose (other than wear them on your legs) and strategies for customizing party favors with contact paper are just a few tidbits Sedaris unleashes while keeping one foot in 2008's counter culture.