He was a lawyer who became the food critic for Vogue magazine & he is a regular @ the judges' table on Iron Chef America. Setting out to conquer his food fears, Steingarten shares his journey in a sophisticated yet easy-to-read way that even non-foodies can get into.
The Ominvore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006) - Michael Pollan
Author, journalist, activist, & professor @ UC Berkeley. Following the major pathways of food production from start to finish, Pollan takes readers along & makes them critically think about just where our source of life really comes from.
In Defense of Food: An Easter's Manifesto (2008) - Michael Pollan
Following up on The Omnivore's Dilemma, Pollan navigates the food maze to figure out what we should eat & how we should eat it. His conclusion? Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Based on his 3 principles, Pollan puts together 64 rules that quickly & clearly help readers figure out just exactly how to Eat food, Not too much, & Mostly plants.
Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want to Know about Fast Food (2006) - Eric Schlosser & Charles Wilson
Adapted from the best selling book Fast Food Nation. Schlosser & Wilson go deep into the frier & show readers the truth behind the fast food industry. Meant for young adult readers, the honest & straight forward writing style makes this a quick read...even for adults.
Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family (2002) - Patricia Volk
Her great-grandfather introduced pastrami to America & her family owned & operated some of the most successful Italian restaurants in New York City. In this memoir, Volk ties her memories of food with her memories of family, retelling one delicious story after another.
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000) - Anthony Bourdain
Author, TV host, & cook, Bourdain is known to many for being a hard core, foul mouthed former junkie who travels around the world eating everything in sight. Through this autobiography, Boudain can be seen in a different light. He is still a hard core, foul mouthed former junkie...just one with a really big heart & a deep, deep passion for food. Honest in its writing (it's like he is talking), this book draws the reader in right from the start & takes them through a roller coaster ride through the "back" of the restaurant industry.
Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir (2013) - Eddie Huang
A son of Chinese-Taiwanese immigrants, Eddie spent much of his young life trying to figure out his identity outside the social boundaries set by society & those surrounding him. He was a teenage delinquent who became a lawyer & then a comedian. Now is the owner of a popular restaurant in New York's Lower East Side - Baohaus. Eddie is candid in his memoir not only in the stories he tells but also in his way of telling the stories. I don't agree with some of the stuff Eddie says in his book about Chinese culture or about growing up in a racist (or just plain ignorant) community. But then that's exactly his point: what other people might say or think about you doesn't matter because at the end of the day, you have to "do you."
Tramonto dropped out of high school to work @ Wendy's & he is now one of the top chefs in the country with an empire of restaurants & cook books. Although the book read like life was easy for Tramonto - he seems to be able to find jobs @ good restaurants very easily - the reader can still tell the hard work that he put in to gain the success he has today. And when Tramonto describes the dark times in his life, he is honest & relatable & actually brought tears to my eyes on several occasions.
Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People who Cook (2010) - Anthony Bourdain
10 years since the publication of the wildly successful Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain remains the same - honest & candid. Although it seems time, world travel, & fatherhood have softened up this "cranky old f***", he has maintained his straight shooting ways. Without apparent chronology, Bourdain seemed to write about anything that came to mind; and depending on who/what he was writing about you can either expect a health-felt shout out or a powerful punch to the gut.