Saturday, December 18, 2010

Foodie's Reading Challenge

Margot at Joyfully Retired is hosting a challenge for 2011 that I am very excited about: The Foodie's Reading Challenge!

I love reading books about food.  I often read cookbooks cover-to-cover, like a narrative book.  And there are several books sitting on my TBR shelves that focus on food.  This is going to be a lot of fun.

Definition of a Food Book 

Participants do not have to chose their books in advance, but here is a little guidance from Margot:

A food book is a book which is centered around food and/or drinks. That could be a cookbook, a food biography or memoir, a non-fiction book focused around a specific food, wine, chef or restaurant. Also allowed is a fictional story in which food plays a major role.

My Reviews

The Food of France by Waverley Root (reviewed here)

American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters, and Fields, Rowan Jacobsen (reviewed here)

Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front by Joel Salatin (reviewed here)

The Onmivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan (which I didn't review, but discussed here)

With a Jug of Wine: An Unusual Collection of Cooking Recipes by Morrison Wood (reviewed here, with a recipe) 

I also read French Spirits: A House, a Village, and a Love Affair in Burgundy by Jeffrey Green, which I thought would be about food, but wasn't at all, so doesn't count as my sixth book. Drats.


I signed up at the "Bon Vivant" level to read four to six books.  My plan is to read books that are already on my TBR shelves.  Some of those in the running include (in no particular order):

The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle Over Food Rights by David E. Gumpert

James Beard on Food Delights and Prejudices by James Beard (I started this one on December 1)

On the Town in New York by Michael Batterberry

Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family by Patricia Volk

The Tuscan Year: Life and Food in an Italian Valley by Elizabeth Romer

Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table by Ruth Reichl

Alice Waters and Chez Panisse by Thomas McNamee

Epicurean Delight: The Life and Times of James Beard by Evan Jones

Vie De France: Sharing Food, Friendship and a Kitchen in the Lorie Valle by James Haller

A Cordiall Water by M. F. K. Fisher

The Feasting Season by Nancy Coons

Dumas on Food: Selections from Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine by Alexandre Dumas

And it might be a good idea to include this one:

French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano

Other Ideas

This challenge reminds me of the Spice of Life Challenge, which was a favorite of mine in 2009. For that challenge, I read and reviewed these four books, three of which I loved. Can you guess which one I didn't?

  1. Au Revoir to All That by Michael Steinberger (my non-fiction choice; reviewed here)
  2. The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones (my fiction choice; reviewed here)
  3. The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso (my cookbook choice; reviewed here)
  4. Julie & Julia by Julie Powell (my memoir/essay choice; reviewed here
NOTES: Updated December 3, 2011.


    1. Hi there! I saw your comment over at the Foodie's website and had to click over, being an ex-pat PDXer of sorts myself :) You have a great list and I look forward to reading your reviews! (By the way, I love the French Women etc..., really sort of a game changer when it came to me and food!)

    2. I will take a guess. Did you not care for "Julie and Julia????

    3. I'll be doing this fun challenge too!

    4. Comfort Me With Apples was really great. But the follow-up was a pale comparison. I adore Jeffrey Steingarten's books, although you don't need more recommendations! :)

    5. WOW, you're a bon vivant! Kudos!

      I'm just a nibbler, but you never know what 2011 might bring...

    6. Sorry I'm so late but just wanted to say thanks for joining the Foodie's Reading Challenge. Your list is an enviable one. I've copied down a few I like.

      Good luck with the challenge. I hope you have a fun reading year.


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