1. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley
Lucy Knisley's new book Relish is, as far as I know, the first of its kind: a graphic memoir of culinary experiences. Lucy takes us through a childhood growing up with parents who loved to cook, eat, and grow food. She celebrates her early love of squid and smelly cheese, and bemoans a parental lockdown on sugary cereals and all junk food. Several recipes are studded throughout the book, beautifully drawn and delicious-looking even in cartoon form. The book's illustrations are both adorable and expressive. Knisley is a truly talented artist who made me believe more food memoirs should be illustrated - after all, we eat with our eyes.
2. An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails, by Orr Shtuhl and Elizabeth Graeber
Along the illustrated theme, Orr Shtuhl and Elizabeth Graeber's An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails is a bar gem. Penguins and historical figures make repeat appearances in this recipe book and stories of alcoholic drinks. You'll accumulate fun facts, like the origination of the phrase "the real McCoy," and delicious recipes for traditional cocktails. Shtuhl's lighthearted tone and Graeber's drawings give the book a childlike quality not often found in books about drinking.
3. The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage
This collection of essays in The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage highlights the many ways that families use food to share stories, bridge divides, and pass on legacies. In the title story, a couple addresses marital strife through a cassoulet party each week. Other authors share their struggle with food heritage and how food memories shape their identities. The stories are touching and at times brutally honest. Anyone who's ever argued and celebrated with family over a kitchen table can relate to these stories.
Timothy D. Lytton's book Kosher documents the history of kosher certification in the U.S. It exhaustively covers the legal challenges created by the five major kosher certification companies. Lytton describes how consumers have rallied around consistent and transparent certification, and how the consumer base for kosher products has expanded beyond the Jewish community. Highly recommended for policy wonks or those interested in how private certification works in this competitive industry.
About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her other work can be found at her website.