Serious Reads

Reviews of food-themed memoirs, beach reads, and histories.

10 New Food Books for Beach Reading

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Why Calories Count, by Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim

Arguably the most important nutrition book to be released this year, Why Calories Count is Nestle and Nesheim's take on the relationship between calories and weight. The authors do a wonderful job making nutrition science accessible, and the book may give you a few new ideas for how to approach weight loss and a healthy diet.

Culinary Intelligence, by Peter Kaminsky

This half-memoir, half-diet guide is friendly and easy to read. Rather than lecture or scold, Kaminsky provides simple tips gleaned from his journey of losing forty pounds. He is a food enthusiast, with no patience for bland diet food, making Culinary Intelligence a refreshing take on the weight-loss story.

Taste Buds and Molecules, by Francois Chartier

While Taste Buds and Molecules is a bit heavy to lug to the beach, it has tons of new recipe inspiration for planning your summer picnics. Its innovative design makes this book easy to read and Chartier's take on pairing foods and wines is truly something new.

Charlotte au Chocolat, by Charlotte Silver

Charlotte Silver grew up in her mother's restaurant, a high-end dining club near Harvard University. She recounts the ups and downs of childhood in the restaurant business in Charlotte au Chocolat, including plenty of mouthwatering dish descriptions.

An Extravagant Hunger, by Anne Zimmerman

M.F.K. Fisher remains one of the most influential and inspired food writers of all time, and this biography by Anne Zimmerman provides unique insight into her life and struggles. An Extravagant Hunger has it all: romance, despair, and of course, amazing food.

An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler

Adler's take on cooking is relaxed and fluid—her recipes blend into anecdotes and experiences from her years as a cook. She takes much inspiration from the beautiful prose of M.F.K. Fisher, which is reflected in her personal and engaging writing style. An Everlasting Meal is lovely book for curling up under the sun and dreaming of new dishes.

On the Future of Food, by the Prince of Wales

This slight book is packed with a compelling case for revolutionizing our food system. If you're looking to brush up on your food facts but want an accessible pool-side read, On the Future of Food is a great beginner's guide to good food.

White Bread, by Aaron Bobrow-Strain

Bread is a staple of many countries' diets, and is a necessity in many American households. Aaron Bobrow-Strain takes us through the complicated and fascinating history of bread, both homemade and packaged, and how American culture has been reflected in the country's bread preferences over time.

French Kids Eat Everything, by Karen Le Billon

We often turn to the French as the gold standard of cuisine and food culture, and Karen Le Billon argues that French parents are also most adept at raising adventurous, un-picky eaters. Her memoir French Kids Eat Everything of transforming two fussy American tots into well-behaved and proper French children provides an interesting conversation starter.

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