I Eat to Read
Two for the Road: Our Love Affair with American Food by Jane and Michael Stern.
This husband and wife team first caught my attention with their book Sixties People. It described the different stereotypes people fell into during that decade - the 1960's equivalents of jocks and stoners. The pictures were great and I was enamored of the concept for a very beautifully designed book. They also did the Encyclopedia of Bad Taste. But they are best known for their books about road food - no-name joints on America's Blue Highways that serve down home cooking that puts chain restaurants to shame. This new one looks like a memoir that tells of their funny experiences on the road. Jane also wrote a wonderful personal account of her mid-life crisis called Ambulance Girl, so I am sure this new one will be entertaining.
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan. This looks like an updated telling of Much Depends on Dinner - a book that explains where exactly our food comes from. It has all sorts of political implications these days. I am a little worried that this will put me off Chicken McNuggets for my kids forever.
I caught the tail end of the Diane Rehm Show on NPR, and her interview with Molly O'Neill, a former food columnist for the New York Times magazine and author of three cookbooks. O'Neill has written a memoir called Mostly True: A Memoir of Family, Food, and Baseball, about her family, which includes former New York Yankees outfielder Paul O'Neill. Her family sounds larger than life. This story just seems to capture many elements of the best of American culture. O'Neill sounded pretty grounded and interesting on the radio. One caller asked whether it is dangerous to invest so much emotion and meaning into food, and isn't that contributing to the epidemic of obesity today. O'Neill basically agreed with the caller and said that she and her brothers have to exercise now like crazy to eat the way they like to eat. I love that candor!
One more - Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I also heard this writer on NPR and was a little put off by the author using food to mend her broken heart. But then I read what Bookslut had to say and decided to see what the fuss is about. Bookslut is an irreverent blog about all things literary. The Bookslut has very strong opinions on books. So if she is passionately defending it, it is worth a look.