This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know – What Foodie / Health Books Do You Recommend?

Posted by on July 13, 2009 | 26 Comments

alamodecover200Quick Announcement:

Before jumping into my question, I wanted to let you all know that Hannah of My Sweet Vegan and Bittersweet, has a new mini eCookbook out, and wow! It is called À La Mode, and it is a collection of the most creative and cravable (word?) frozen desserts I have ever laid eyes upon. The ones I am already drooling over are the Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream and the Oatmeal Raisin Ice Cream, but you can see the full recipe list and details here on her blog. The recipes are all vegan (dairy-free, egg-free), and they all have gluten-free and soy-free options too – and the ecookbook is just $5! Go check it out, and then come back to give me your opinion on this …

I Need Some Good Reads. What Books Do You Recommend?

We will be vacationing for a couple of weeks this summer at our cabin. It is on a lake, no electricity. Yep, I am going computer free, can you believe it? Anyway, I seem to fill my time up with cookbook flipping, but it has been ages since I have actually read a good book. Needless to say, I am at a loss for book ideas, and could really use your help!

I am still in a foodie and health mood; I am not much for novels (though I really enjoyed the foodie novel, The Last Chinese Chef, figures). In general, I just love learning. I mean, is Michael Pollan where it’s at, or are there some other excellent reads out there? Is there a good foodie novel I may be missing?What do you think?




5 Good Things Since My Last Post

  1. One of my recipe photos was picked as Photo of the Day on Recipezaar! So honored. It was the second photo (with the flowers) in this recipe for Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Banana Muffins.
  2. We got free tickets to the Regeneration Tour! It was very cool, in the pool area of the new M Casino. Who doesn’t love a good eighties flashback night.
  3. My husband gave my dried-out feet a nice oil massage. I am so spoiled.
  4. I met the highly energetic Brent at Sun Warrior. He was kind enough to share samples so that I can experiment with some protein-packed recipes.
  5. I finally had time to order some new clothes (the wardrobe is looking shabby). I am petite, so I have to do most of my shopping online … I hope at least some of it fits! As long as I am asking questions, does anyone have any good petite brand recommendations?


Filed Under: Tips, Ideas, and Deals

Comments (26)


  1. That e-book does sound good! Not a new book, but one I found completely fascinating was the audio book of Heat by Bill Buford. It tells about his time spent working in Mario Vitale’s restaurant kitchen, working with an eccentric Tuscan butcher, and so forth. Not only does it show how restaurant kitchens are insance, but it also gives a great history of food in Europe.

    Have fun on your vacation! We are heading out on our motorcycle trip at the end of the week and I don’t know that I’ll be checking in online. I definitely won’t have a computer with me. There’s barely enough room to take enough clothes (and that’s with washing them at some stops along the way). LOL


  2. Regina says:

    Some oldies but goodies: Kitchen Literacy by Ann Vileisis, Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, Food Matters by Mark Bittman, Harvest for Hope by Jane Goodall, and Eat, Memory (food essays from NYT)

  3. Hannah says:

    Aw, thanks for the mention- I’m so flattered! 🙂

    As for summer reading, I’m currently enjoying Heat, which is a foodie novel that got a lot of great press a while back… but I guess I mostly read cookbooks and foodie novels, so I can’t offer much in the way of “learning” books.

  4. melissa says:

    Hi alisa,

    Garlic and sapphires is a good foodie novel, I have heard animal vegetable miracle is too.

    I also like–on the practical side–feel good food by karen knowler. Diet for a new america, skinny bitch, omnivories dilemna.

    And bring some good mags. Have fun at the lake

  5. andrea says:

    i recommend animal vegetable miracle by barbara kingsolver! it is such a lovely story and guide about eating well and living well on the mainland. i don’t know how into farming you are currently, but this book will make you want to grow everything (and maybe even can and pickle those veggies!) also, a super inspiring story i just read was three cups of tea, about the guy who failed to climb K2 but ended up building schools throughout pakistan.

  6. DebinHawaii says:

    Glad you liked The Last Chinese Chef–hope you are joining us for this round of Cook the Books! I loved Food Matters, Mark Bittman, What to Eat, Marion Nestle, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, Harvest of Hope by Jane Goodall, and any Anthony Bourdain

  7. Nupur says:

    I love the food memoirs: Climbing the mango trees by Madhur Jaffrey, My life in France by Julia Child and The language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber are three favorites that come to mind.

    For sheer learning, I love the kitchen science books, such as On Science and Cooking by Harold McGee and What Einstein Told His Cook by Robert Wolke.

  8. Wow, congrats on your featured recipe!!!

  9. veggievixen says:

    congrats on the recipe feature! that book sounds amazing. i love my sweet vegan!

    as for books, michael pollan is pretty awesome. i haven’t read much of his stuff, but he was very intelligent/well-spoken in “food, inc.” my favorite book of all time is “the poisonwood bible” by barbara kingsolver, but it doesn’t have all that much to do with food.

    as for petite brands, i shop at ann taylor loft and they have a nice petite section. i am not petite but i often get a few things from the section if the regular sizes are too long.

  10. Joan says:

    I loved My Life in France by Julia Child as well! Also Michael Ruhlman’s new book Ratio is really interesting. Enjoy your vacation!

  11. I really like Micheal Pollan’s In Defense of Food. For something a little more fun, David Lebowitz has a book called The Sweet Life in Paris about living and eating in Paris, AND there are recipes 🙂

  12. Ellen says:

    Three books to add to this great list:
    Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
    A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg
    Real Food: What to eat and why by Nina Planck


  13. Ricki says:

    Hmm–looks like all my recommendations are already posted! But I did just buy Julie and Julia, which looks like a good read.

  14. Alison says:

    I echo other people who recommended Mark Bittman and Molly Wizenberg’s books. They were great. I didn’t like Julie and Julia because there was so much bad language that I was really put off (and I’m usually not over-sensitive). I really want to read Last chinese Chef.

  15. Christina says:

    Not sure if this is your read type, but I just read a few cute mysteries. They’re by Cricket McRae and all based on this character that makes homemade soaps, crafts, and foods. It has that kind of crafty/foodie feel, but a little mystery thrown in. They were little guilty pleasure readings for me, nothing too intense or serious. 🙂

    I have some luck in person at retailers like Marshall’s and TJMaxx b/c they sell excess from other stores. Sometimes they have a much bigger selection in smaller sizes b/c the other stores don’t sell them as often as the common sizes.

  16. Rebeca says:

    I’m loving Vegan Fire and Spice right now! Soo good!

    Um number three has me jealous 🙂 Lucky girl!

  17. Nowheymama says:

    I second Animal, Vegetable, Miracle!

  18. Melanie says:

    The 100-Mile Diet – James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith
    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle -Barbara Kingsolver
    Fast Food Nation – Eric Schlosser
    Anything Michael Pollan!

  19. elly says:

    Some that I have read and enjoyed: My Life in France, Kitchen Confidential, Omnivore’s Dilemma (just got In Defense of Food for my birthday but haven’t gotten to it yet), all of Ruth Reichl’s books, books by Michael Ruhlman, Julie & Julia (keeping in mind that it is much more about Julie, a sarcastic, bitter secretary 😉

    Happy vacationing!

  20. I learn the most from flavor and food from other people…one of my favorites is Martha Rose Shulman. She’s written some vegetarian books but she’s not gluten or sugar-free, nor is she dairy-free. She has, however, lived and cooked all over the world and you can learn about all types of cuisine through her wonderfully written books. I have spent so many joy-filled hours in my kitchen playing with her recipes. It sounds silly but I feel like I know her.

  21. Andrea says:

    Have you read “Diet For a New America” by John Robbins? It’s a litle older but important book about diet and health. Two nf worthwhile reads are “Three Cups of Tea” and “Mountains Beyond Mountains.”

  22. pam says:

    I’m trying to come up with one that hasn’t been mentioned…I just recently read “the school of essential ingredients” and I enjoyed it.

  23. […] you all so much for your book recommendations! I will update on what I do buy soon […]

  24. Erin says:

    I’m currently reading How to Read a French Fry by Russ Parsons, and enjoying it so far. It’s food science in layman’s terms, basically, but presented in a fun, interesting way with recipes to demonstrate. It’s kind of like Alton Brown without all the cheesy props.

  25. Kelli says:

    Have you tried Ann Taylor for petite clothes? It’s my favorite.

  26. […] you guys are truly awesome! Ask for foodie book requests, and ye shall receive; inquire on recommended Trader Joe’s food, and the opinions roll in (I […]

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