Monday, October 19, 2015

Food Books: Annual Round-Up!

I really enjoy reading books about food, and once a year or so, I post a round-up of several food-related titles that were fun, interesting reads. This year's round-up is quite diverse and covers a range of topics. (I will add 2 more in the coming days, so check back.) Here are the 2012 round-up and 2013 round-up.

The Dorito Effect: the Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor by Mark Schatzger. Simon & Schuster, 2015.

Ever wonder what makes Doritos taste like, well, Doritos? In this truly fascinating read, Schatzger outlines the lengths that big food companies go to in order to sell us their products. A shortage of vanilla beans caused companies to figure out just what panoply of flavors are required for a person to be convinced by artificial vanilla. Making chips taste analogous to tacos really can launch a new national craze. Schatzger doesn't end with any surprising recommendations for those of us in the Western world who are faced with tasty non-food substances other than to eat... real food. But it was eye opening to read nonetheless and begins to explain a bit of why lesser known varieties of, say, tomatoes really do taste better from a local friend's garden than the big box variety at the local supermarket (hint: it's not just that they're fresher).

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan. Three Rivers Press, 2015.*

In a sea of serious, often alarmist food-related titles, Gaffigan sets sail in a rowboat of laughter. With titles like "An Eatie, Not a Foodie," "Doughnuts: The Circle of Life," and "Pastrami Playdate," commedian Gaffigan applies all his snarky, funny sense of humor to the stuff we eat and consume on a regular basis as Americans. Unapologetically unhealthy in his food interests and habits, Gaffigan brings the "real us" out in public, the "us" who likes to "eat our feelings" (because they taste good!), the "us" who are victims of changing food trends on basic commodities such as milk, and the "us" who--like Gaffigan--just might view ketchup as the universal condiment. Gaffigan offers up his food geography of the U.S., comments on his frequent travels and culinary experiences, and is consistently funny. The book is broken up into very short chapters which is helpful as Gaffigan is a bit long-winded at times. It's easy to skip around and read the chapters that pique your interest most.

Doritos Effect image from amazon; Food cover image from publisher
*I received Food: a Love Story from blogging for books in return for a fair review.

1 comment:

Leah Lee said...

I love reading Jim Gaffigan, and you just helped me find my Christmas gifts for Norman (He is in LOVE with food).
Looking forward to reading these.