Slideshow: The 10 Best Non-Cookbook Food Books of 2012

The American Way of Eating, by Tracie McMillan
The American Way of Eating, by Tracie McMillan
Journalist Tracie McMillan went undercover as a vegetable picker, Walmart employee, and Applebee's waitress. She shares the struggle and discrimination faced every day by workers in difficult service jobs. Her experiences are rigorously recollected, and her writing keeps you turning the page with avid, and sometimes morbid, curiosity. Highly recommended for readers interested in the behind-the-scenes of our food system. Order online; $11
Change Comes to Dinner, by Katherine Gustafson
Change Comes to Dinner, by Katherine Gustafson
This book highlights food programs across the country that are working to change our industrial food system. Whether by gardening in the inner-city or by growing heirloom beans, the change-makers that Gustafson highlights are making the food scene more delicious. Definitely a pick-me-up! Order online; $11
French Kids Eat Everything, by Karen Le Billon
French Kids Eat Everything, by Karen Le Billon
This book created quite a conversation among commenters when my review first ran in May. Le Billon tells the story of how moving her family to France, and adopting French eating and cooking habits, cured her children of picky eating and made their diets much more healthful. She provides lots of quick tips for parents struggling to introduce veggies or dissuade pickiness. A great book if you're an aspiring or new parent looking for advice, or if you're a seasoned vet interested in comparing your methods to the French. Order online; $16
Greenhorns, edited by Paula Manalo, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, and Zoe Ida Bradbury
Greenhorns, edited by Paula Manalo, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, and Zoe Ida Bradbury
Greenhorns tells the stories of many young and beginning farmers from across the U.S. The book is a series of essays, which tell stories of success, dreams, love, and failure on the farm. Many of the essays are beautifully written and all are inspiring. This was one of my favorite reads of the year. Order online; $10
My Berlin Kitchen, by Luisa Weiss
My Berlin Kitchen, by Luisa Weiss
Weiss is author of the popular blog The Wednesday Chef. In her memoir, she chronicles a young adulthood spent feeling rootless and unsettled. Half-Italian but raised in Berlin, the kitchen was the only place she felt comfortable combining her various heritages. Laced with recipes and a happy love story, this book is an easy read for snuggling by the fire. Oder online; $16
Uncorked, by Marco Pasanella
Uncorked, by Marco Pasanella
In this book, Pasanella shares his experiences opening and running a successful wine shop in New York City. Pasanella is a great writer, and he provides a different perspective on the restaurant industry than many chef memoirs do. He shows us the nitty gritty of running a small business and the unique challenges and joys of being a wine purveyor. Great for wine lovers or for budding beverage entrepreneurs. Order online; $16
Yes, Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson
Yes, Chef, by Marcus Samuelsson
In my review of this book, I wrote that it was the "pinnacle of chef memoirs," and I stand by that declaration. Full of compelling emotion and laced with humor and humility, Yes, Chef tells the story of Marcus Samuelsson, an Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised, French-trained chef who has opened two envelope-pushing restaurants in Harlem, New York. His story is inspiring but human, and left me drooling to eat at one of his new joints. Order online; $17
Birdseye, by Mark Kurlansky
Birdseye, by Mark Kurlansky
Kurlansky has already proven himself to be one of the most rigorous and prolific food historians of our time with his bestselling books, Salt, Cod, and The Big Oyster. His newest book explores the mind and successes of Clarence Birdseye, who revolutionized the frozen food industry. This history is engaging and personal, and celebrates Birdseye's quirky personality and unique genius. A must-read if frozen mixed vegetables are a staple in your household (as they are in mine). Order online; $17