Best of 2012: Food books

I read Tracie McMillan's The American Way of Eating as an e-book. Photo by The Conscientious Omnivore (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

E-books (and e-readers, like the nook) make good holiday gifts, too! Photo by The Conscientious Omnivore (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Today’s “best of” lists have some overlap with yesterday’s nominations for the best cookbooks of 2012. That’s because, while some outlets do a nice job keeping cookbooks separate from other food-related books, others just lump them together.

Tejal Rao of The Village Voice, for example, offers 18 selections, many of which are recipe collections. Non-cookbook recommendations include Robin Shulman’s Eat the City (“elegant, fascinating stories about New York’s culinary geography with rich portraits of the people — past and present — who have taken part in its food production”) and Kate Hopkins’ Sweet Tooth: The Bittersweet History of Candy (“a smart, rambling meditation on the history of candy that dips a little into the food memoir genre without feeling formulaic or turning into a confection.”)

Rao and team also recommend Lucky Peach from McSweeney’s:

We know this isn’t a book, but this quarterly food journal has been consistently delivering some of the most exciting food writing, interviews, and design all year long. And it’s the kind of magazine you actually want to read from cover to cover, you know, like a book. If you don’t already have a subscription, consider one for 2013.

For others to consider, The Observer has a photo slideshow of 20 recommendations, with suggestions that include Edible Selby, photographer Todd Selby’s view of the culinary world, and Nicholas Lander’s The Art of the Restaurateur.

Zoe Williams offers suggestions at The Guardian, including Bee Wilson’s Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat and Steven Poole’s You Aren’t What You Eat: Fed Up With Gastroculture.

Leah Douglas at Serious Eats has recommendations like Tracie McMillan’s The American Way of Eating and the essay collection Greenhorns: The Next Generation of American Farmers.

For still more suggestions, check out lists from Paula Forbes at Eater; the librarians of Schaumburg Township; Jamie Frater at Listverse; and Josh of Potter Square Books in Cambridge, Massachusetts (who give another thumbs up to Lucky Peach).

Happy shopping, and happy reading!


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