In a true sense, a cookbook is the best source of psychological advice and the kitchen the first choice of room for a therapy of the world.

–Sir Thomas More


The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal

This cookbook is full of baking recipes, everything from breads, scones, and muffins, to cupcakes, pies, cookies, and cakes. The subtitle is “How to Bake Without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, and Sesame.” When I stumbled across it on, I almost fell out of my seat–it was exactly what I needed.

I highly recommend it if you have several food allergies/sensitivities and love to bake. Additionally, ingredients in each recipe can be adjusted (say, if you do eat eggs or dairy). This cookbook really lets you explore the world of baking in spite of your food allergies.

Non-fiction Food Books:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

I loved this one. The book basically chronicles Kingsolver and her family as they live a year only off of locally produced food: things they grow themselves on their small Virginian farm and purchase from neighbors.

While the idea of living a whole year off of stuff you grow yourself seems incredibly daunting and foreign in this modern, consumerist world, Kingsolver easily convinces you that yes, it can be a little challenging, but the rewards and joy overflow. The challenges are real, and the book really makes you think about where your everyday food in the grocery store comes from: far away.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

This book is Pollan’s look at answering the Omnivore’s Dilemma–that is, the question, “What should we eat for dinner?”

Pollan focuses 3 different ways of eating: industrial, organic and hunter/gatherer. He investigates a modern industrial meal start to finish (corn field, cattle feedlot, McDonald’s), an industrial organic meal (Wholefoods), a pastoral organic meal (local farm), and personal foraging and hunting (wild pig, mushrooms, personal gardening). He catalogs the pros and cons of each meal and lays out the facts.

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

Pollan investigates the relationship between humans and four species: apples (sweetness), tulips (beauty), marijuana (intoxication), and potatoes (power). The history of how these plant powerhouses have gotten where they are is fascinating: did we domesticate them or have they used humanity for their own ends?

You get to learn things that are usually glossed over: Johnny Appleseed planted apples so pioneers could have hard cider; the Tulip bubble in Holland was crazy and very real; marijuana is way more potent now for a reason; the 1845 Irish potato famine could easily repeat itself in our modern monoculture practices.

Books to read:

The Gluten Effect by Drs. Vikki and Richard Peterson

The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan

Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health by Marion Nestle

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Slow Food Nation by Carlo Petrini

Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System by Raj Patel

New Roots of Agriculture by Wes Jackson

Becoming Native by Wes Jackson

The Gift of Good Land by Wendell Berry

Living Downstream by Sandra Steingraber

Our Stolen Future by Colborn, Dumanoski and Myers

Epitaph for a Peach by Mas Masumoto

Restoring the Earth by Kenny Ausubel

A Green History of the World by Clive Ponting

Coming Home to Eat by Gary Nahban

On Good Land by Michael Ableman

This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader by  Joan Gussow

Biopiracy by Vandana Shiva

Fatal Harvest, The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture edited by Andrew Kimbrell

The Essential Agrarian Reader by Norman Wirzba

Reclaiming the Commons by Brian Donahue

Fiction Food Books

Chocolat by Joanna Harris

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

The Spice Necklace by Ann Vanderhoof

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler

Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber

La Cucina by Lily Prior

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