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Jun 3, 2006 12:20 AM

have you read any good food books lately?

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any comments, reccos?

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  1. garlic and sapphires by ruth reichl chronicles her stint as ny times book reviewer--she'd get totally dressed up in different outfits (and take on corresponding personas) to maintain her anonymity. it was an engaging fun fluffy read.

    9 Replies
    1. re: freddie

      I loved this book. Couldn't put it down until I finished it.

        1. re: coll

          Yes! I have enjoyed her other books, also.Some very good recipes too! Cooking For Mr Latte was fun (and a bit fluffy) too.

        2. re: freddie

          I'm a bit behind the times, but I'm reading "It must have been something I ate" since I found it in hardcover for $4.49 at B&N. I loved The Man Who Ate Everything, and I think this is even more cleverly written

          1. re: CulinaryKate

            Read it a year or so ago. Didn't eat spinach for a long time again.

          2. re: freddie

            Just finished it last week. I was fortunate enough to hear her, at a snappy event at the Brattle Cinema in Cambridge MA, talk about her experiences this past year. I'd already read her Tender At The Bone & Comfort Me With Apples. Some other books I've read are 1000 Days in Venice & 1000 Days in Tuscany by Marlena De Blasi that I thought were wonderful adventures in learning, living, loving & eating.

            1. re: Taralli

              I did just finish reading "Comfort me with Apples" by Ruth Reichl. It's about food . . . and a whole lot more!


            2. re: freddie

              a thoroughly amusing book to read and probably fascinating for anyone who is a chowhound.

              1. re: freddie

                I am reading Stuffed (Adventures of a Restaurant Family) by Patricia Volk. I love it! One reviewer called it funny, heartbreaking and good enough to eat. I agree.

              2. The Accidental Connoisseur. Very funny.


                1. Arthur Schwartz's New York Food is a great compendium of NYC food lore, great vintage photos of long gone places like Luchow's, and some good recipes.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JPanda

                    I read Arthur Schwartz's book and am giving it away. Anyone in the NYC area want it?

                    1. re: eastvillagegirl

                      eastvillagegirl....i'll take that book off of your hands if you are still giving it away!-
                      you can contact me at

                  2. The Big Oyster by Mark Kurlansky. A history of NY City and the role of the oyster.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: JMF

                      Also check out Salt, by the same author. Really interesting.

                      1. re: BabyLitigator

                        Good also, by Kurlansky, is Cod, The Fish That Changed the World (not sure if I got the exact subtitle).

                        1. re: MollyGee

                          There's also his Basque History of the World. I have all his food books, they are a must for a good food reference library.

                    2. I've been reading Mark Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" off and on for a couple of weeks. I'll read a section and get so upset by what I'm learning that I have to stop for a bit and read something fun as a distraction. This book is absolutely fascinating and it's making me wish I could raise all my own food.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: jillp

                        I just finished it a few nights ago. It took me longer than usual to read for the same reasons that you mention. It's a very thought-provoking book. It could have been a very dry book too, but Pollan manages to make his topic very readable and even witty, from time to time. And he's just so darned likeable!

                        1. re: jillp

                          By the way, it's Michael Pollan, not Mark.

                          I just finished this book, and found it fascinating and thought-provoking, especially his critique of post-industrial agricultural monoculture and the dominance of corn.

                          Not only is it bad for economic and environmental reasons, but it's also bad for the taste of the food. An example the book made me think of was tomatoes: I never liked tomatoes until relatively late in life, because the only tomatoes I ever had the chance to try were the flavorlessones you see that are grown for their propensity to last a long time in transport, not their taste. When I tasted a really good, fresh tomato I was sad at how much I've been missing all my life.

                          I'd also recommend "Botany of Desire", a previous book of Pollan's.

                          1. re: jillp

                            I started this book a couple of weeks ago. I haven't finished the first section on corn production yet, but I gave up beef after reading about the feedlot conditions. Yuch, I can't imagine such conditions and abuse can actually create "good" or "good for you" food. The human race is so arrogant in our willingness to pervert nature in so many ways, just for profits.

                            Interestingly enough, I spent some time in the Greek islands in May, and I was amazed at how close they are to their food. Every island has a specialty, their own cheese, wine etc. and they are so proud of their local food. It was amazing how good everything tasted and how we were easily satisfied with smaller portions and generally less food. It was about passion more than profit.

                            I honestly don't know what it will take for North American culture to wake up and smell the organic, fair trade coffee. But I will be finishing the book and looking for better food wherever I can get it.

                            A most fascinating and necessary read for a foodie. It also provides an interesting take on modern economics, war, politics etc.

                            1. re: dinin and dishin

                              Don't "give up beef" just yet--read the Grass section. You don't HAVE to eat industrial meat. More work, more $, but there are alternatives.