Literary-minded foodies have been blessed with a spate of recently published worthwhile culinary writing. Whether they cover counterculture movements gone by or introduce a modern black culinary hero, these books will enrich your perspective on food and the people behind your favorite flavors. They’re perfect for savoring over long planes rides, on sunbathed beaches or wherever else your summer adventures take you.
Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat
Jonathan Kauffman’s 2019 James Beard Award-nominated book Hippie Food delves into the counterculture culinary movements of the mid-20th century that shaped what we see on grocery store shelves today. In his impeccably researched book, Kauffman explores how vegetarianism, co-ops and other now-mainstream foodways came to be by taking readers on a journey around the country tracking the people and foods that have changed the way we eat.
Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking it All With The Greatest Chef in The World
Due out in July, Hungry, from Esquire food and drink editor and frequent New York Times contributor Jeff Gordinier details the four years he spent exploring the world’s most distinct flavors with visionary chef Rene Redzepi. Gordinier and Redzepi circled the globe in search of eating adventures, including taco hunts in the jungle of the Yucatán peninsula and sampling sea urchins in the Arctic Circle. The result is a culinary travel story and an intimate profile of one of our generation’s greatest chefs, who hungers not just for food but for pushing gastronomic boundaries.
Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir
Kwame Onwuachi won the 2019 Rising Star Chef James Beard Award a few weeks ago, but that’s not why you should read his memoir Notes from a Young Black Chef. The 29-year-old chef’s story is rife with lessons that extend beyond the kitchen. The Bronx native ran with gangs and dealt drugs before shaping up and financing his catering business by selling candy on subways. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America and putting in time in celebrated kitchens, Onwuachi was given the dream opportunity to open a fine dining restaurant in Washington D.C. that was initially heralded as one of the country’s newest and exciting culinary destinations until it shuttered 11 weeks after opening. The chef refused to succumb to defeat, however, and his personal and professional comeback will inspire you to take risks and stay true to yourself in and out of the kitchen.
Save me The Plums
In 1999, Ruth Reichl left her coveted post as the New York Times’ restaurant critic to revitalize Gourmet Magazine. Her eighth book, Save me The Plums details the 10 years she ran the legendary publication before Condé Nast shuttered it in 2009. In her signature convivial tone, Reichl recounts favorite moments with her wonderfully creative colleagues in the magazine’s test kitchen, fateful interactions with infamously inscrutable publisher Si Newhouse and parties thrown and enjoyed by world-famous chefs like Daniel Boulud and Anthony Bourdain. She gives readers full access to her privileged world of food superstars. It’s a satisfying journey for anyone nostalgic for the bygone era of powerhouse print food media.