Each Tuesday we’re posting a new entry in our Online Book Club to share with you what we’re reading. Join in with the conversation! We’re focusing on a specific genre each week. Leave us a comment about what you’re reading or what you think about the genre, and you could win a reading-themed coffee mug. We’ll pick a winner each week from the comments below.
This week we hear from Melissa, Reference Librarian at the East Marietta Library, about food lit books! Bon appétit!
What is Food Lit? Food is a universal part of culture, history and memory, and can be found in memoir, history, science and travel writings. In food lit, food is the primary focus and can describe the role of food in an individual’s life, its role in a culture, or its significance in a society’s history. It can also describe the growing, preparation, consumption or other physical aspects of food. Food lit encompasses nonfiction titles, including biography, memoir, history, reporting and narrative cookbooks.
What do you like about this genre? I find food lit interesting because it has a unique capacity to tell us something about social norms and attitudes. Food writing provides a window into a broader culture, providing a glimpse into a society’s values and ideals.
What was a favorite book when you were young? When as a teen I read Tales From the Tummy Trilogy by Calvin Trillin and found out that books about food were not always cookbooks but could be humorous stories and interesting adventures.
What was the most recent book you enjoyed? Are You Really Going To Eat That? Reflections of A Culinary Thrill seeker by Rob Walsh. Houston Chronicle reporter Walsh takes readers on a culinary odyssey throughout the world, uncovering culture and history through food.
Name of your favorite books. Endless Feasts: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet. This anthology serves a banquet of exquisite articles and essays from eminent writers such as MFK Fisher, Laurie Colwin, Pat Conroy, Jim Harrison and Paul Theroux.
Other Food Lit Titles I have enjoyed:
Bialy Eaters: The Story of Bread and a Lost World by Mimi Sheraton. Former New York Times food writer Sheraton explores the history and fate of Bialystok, Poland and its famous crusty namesake, the bialy.
French Lessons: Adventures with Fork, Knife and Corkscrew by Peter Mayle. The author of A Year in Provence explores French food rituals, festivals and foibles.
Toast: The Story of a Boy’s Hunger by Nigel Slater. A poignant memoir of a childhood in 1960s suburban England remembered through food.
American Vintage: The Rise of American Wine by Paul Lukacs. A fascinating chronicle of the improbable journey of American wine industry and the country’s often contradictory relationship with alcohol.