My Top 12 on Food Literature


image via GOOD magazine

There are so many lists on food literature, both non-fiction and fiction, this list is by no means exhausive. Here are some recent 12 I’ve read and really enjoyed.

A year or so ago, I was planning to do a masters course in gastronomy at the Slow Food university, UNISG founded by Carlo Petrini who came to give a talk in Fabrica in 2006 when we first launched Benetton Talk. Then I changed my mind after reading the students blog as 7/10 were Americans and blog entries read like “then we had dinner with people from all around the world, Philadelphia, California, Texas and Italy”.

I decided it made more sense to take a sabbatical and work on a cheese farm/vineyard to learn the ropes, since it definitely isn’t worth the exhorbitant school fees if I was going to be in Yankee Doodle town with other students from all over the world. Very clever marketing strategy for educational commerce. Additionally, younger students are given priority over the selective placements, which would inevitably mean people with more work experience would be bringing more to the table than getting more out of the course.

So anyhow, one of the texts they had to read is a classic: The Physiology of Taste by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin written in 1825.

Here’s my top 12 of fiction and non-fiction.

1. The Physiology of Taste by by Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin : free download on Kindle
2. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
3. Fortune Cookies Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee, don’t be misled by the title, this book is brilliant and so much more than fortune cookies!
4. All books by Ruth Reichl, particularly Garlic and Sapphires
5. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Road Dahl – oldie but goodie
6. All books by M.F.K Fisher, especially The Art of Eating
7. Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran
8. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol – tea party scene and more
9. Cooking: The Quintessential Art by Hervé This (the father of molecular gastronomy long before El bulli)
10. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri: one of the shorts revolves around the kitchen and the routine task of cooking delicious Indian food
11. The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones
12. Sharksfin and Sichuan Peppers by Fuchsia Dunlop (leading Chinese food authority)

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