Food for Thought

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We consume food daily to live, but how often do we think about what we eat and how our favorite recipes were concocted? Delve into the history of food and examine the role food plays within American culture by checking out the following books:

The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South by John T. Edge – An exploration of Southern cuisine reveals how culinary traditions of the rural, poor South became a keystone of contemporary American cuisine.

100 Million Years of Food: What Our Ancestors Ate and Why it Matters Today by Stephen Le – Traces the development of regional cuisines, created through millennia of ingenious experiments using available plants and animals, to argue that returning to ancestral ways of eating is the first line of defense in protecting health.

The World on a Plate: 40 Cuisines, 100 Recipes, and the Stories Behind Them by Mina Holland – Perfect for armchair travelers, an exotic tour of the most irresistible cuisines of the world combines such ingredients as recipes, history and culinary wisdom to reveal what people eat and why in 40 cultures.

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty – A culinary historian uses the story of his own ancestors, both black and white, to trace the origin of barbecue, soul food, and Southern cuisine, revealing the power of food to bring people together.

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan – Recounts the story of the author’s culinary education and the roles of the four classical elements of fire, water, air, and earth in transforming natural ingredients into delicious meals and drinks.

Milk!: A 10,000-Year Food Fracas by Mark Kurlansky – Shares the history of milk and how it has played a crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics, and economics around the world.

Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8. Lee – Chronicling the Chinese-American food experience, a reporter describes her quest for excellent Chinese cuisine while offering insight into such topics as the contributions of illegal immigrants and the relationship between Jewish people and Chinese food.

Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook & Eat by Bee Wilson – Traces the history of cooking through a series of engaging cultural anecdotes while demonstrating how technological innovations ranging from the mortar and pestle to the microwave have shaped how and what humans eat.

About Abby Harris

Abby is the Public Communications Specialist for JMRL.

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