Three Food Related Books Worth Reading:
Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, a memoir by Gabrielle Hamilton, chef/owner of NYC’s PRUNE. This book follows Hamilton from a child, watching her french mother cook, to an adult, eventually owning her own restaurant, and struggling with how to be a mother, “wife” (if you read it, you’ll understand the quotation marks) and chef all at once. The most poignant moments occur when she spends her summers in Italy with her husband’s family. She writes vividly and rawly about the italian al fresco dining experience, and leaves nothing to be desired. My favorite part about the book is when she discusses how a trip to Europe, armed with travelers checks in a pre-cell phone time, helped to mold her very own restaurant. After I read the book, I went to Prune’s website, and saw that not much has changed. It was really “cool” (for lack of a better word) to be able to look at the menu and be able to recognize the dishes from the book, and understand how they organically came to be. This could be a definite beach book for those who are interested in food. It is a much lighter read than the other two books I have recently read pertaining to food – it reads more like a novel than the others.
The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food and Love, written by Kristin Kimball
I was drawn to this book after reading an excerpt about it on a flight to TN in American Airlines magazine. I had recently become interested in sustainable farming, and I often question (almost daily) my decision to become a lawyer. Needless to say, this book really spoke to me. Kimball was a writer, living in New York City. She was writing a piece of farming, and went to a farm in PA to help her story. There, she met the man she would marry, quit her job, and move to New Paltz for, in order to start their own sustainable farm. She brings the reader through the hard-work that farming has on both the body, mind, and a marriage. It’s written beautifully, very descriptively, but it’s a book that you must pay attention to–she describes in great detail different farm chores, which you may think sounds boring, but it’s intriguing to find out just how food is grown, and just how much hard work goes into it. I really reccomend this book if you are interested in organic farming, how food goes from farm to plate, and what happens when you decide to take a chance on completely changing your life.
Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, by Raj Patel, was given to me by the attorney’s I worked for in my Community Lawyering Clinic. It became apparent to them early on that I was extremely passionate about food, and figuring out how to solve the food issues that are going on in our backyard (which I’ve previously discussed on this blog). This book is more academic than the other two – it doesn’t read like a novel as much as it reads as short delves into the disparity of some, the over-abundance of others, and how the two play off of each other to create starvation and obesity.
I’m a nerd and I love to read as much as possible. My next book, newly downloaded to my Kindle (so convenient) is The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America by Michael Ruhlman.