This category has been sorely neglected. We started it because research is such an integral part of cooking and yet somehow when we are actually at home with our books, we never remember to write about them. So here's what we're reading this week...
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. No surprise there, everyone seems to be reading this book. I'm still in the first section but I was surprised by how interesting the writing is and by how easy it is too read. I tend to glaze over and lose interest when reading textbook-like materials but this one is relatively engaging. Don't get me wrong, there's no powering through this book in a couple of sessions or reading it in bed in evenings. But the information is well presented and definitely worth exploring.
In the same vein I am also reading Fields That Dream by Jenny Kurzweil. This book is broken into short chapters that are snapshots of individual farms and skillfully weaves the individual stories into a portrait of American farming today. It is easy to read and painlessly weaves history and agricultural information into the individual profiles. This one actually does make good bedtime reading as it sends you off to dreamland with positive thoughts about how individuals really can make a difference in our food chain.
Alex is plugging through Emulsifiers and Enzymes, Two books from the Eagan Press Handbook Series. These are marketed as practical guides for the food industry and so they are. They are slim volumes packed with practical and technical information for those of us who like to experiment with textures, flavors and food science. Also waiting in the wings are Fats and Oils, Sweeteners, Nutritive, Sweeteners, Alternative, High Fiber Ingredients , and Wheat Flour. There is an abundance of information in these volumes and fortunately my husband has the patience and determination to wade through them.
On a lighter note we're both reading Starting From Scratch, secrets from 21 ordinary people who made the entrepreneurial leap, for inspiration and because everything can't always be about food. The stories are about real people who went out on a limb top start their own business's and became very successful in their chosen ventures. I love success stories because they make me feel as though anything really is possible.
Last but not least we have Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables and Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini out on the dining room table because they wonderful reference books to have at your fingertips, especially at this time of year. You never know what new and interesting kinds of produce will arrive at your doorstep and it behooves us to stay in the know. Besides the recipes and simple illustrations/photographs are inspirational all on their own.