Improving My Relationship with Food Through Reading
It's no doubt that you know that I LOVE FOOD.
However, it hasn't always been this glorious, positive relationship. Some people probably don't even think about their relationship with food. Throughout Simple Sugars, it is evident that my relationship is multi-dimensional - I think of it in all of those ways: socially, culturally, emotionally, scientifically, physically, and artistically. I see that my perspective and relationship is different than most.
I do believe that many people don't have the relationship that I think they are capable of having. My past relationship with food is something I think a lot of people can relate to. In short, I used to think of food as good or bad, and I used it restrictively.
I have taken many approaches to improving my relationship with food. But the one I have found most helpful, effective and fun is through reading. YES READING! I actually used to hate reading and I'm guilty of using SparkNotes for 100% of Mrs. Swensen's assigned books in the 11th grade. However, the fact that I could improve my life through reading became very appealing to me.
Food is something we are required to interact with everyday in some way, shape, or form. In the grand scheme of it all I am offering a perspective of gratitude with the food you are consuming. I have put together a collection of books that I believe changed my relationship with food to a completely positive relationship. I strongly believe that educating yourself on what food is actually doing for your amazing, capable body is something close to magic. Just to be clear, these books are not about human metabolism or biology or growing your own food. These are books encompass the potential to improve your mind, attitude, and life - all through food. Yay!
The Food Lab
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
OK, now this is not a sit down and read on a Sunday afternoon type of book. This is more of an epic chunk of massive food knowledge bombs, to use as a reference tool. The book gives you the optimal methods to create meat, eggs, vegetables, pasta - you name it - to enhance color, texture, flavor and nutrition (and therefore perspective) out of every bite. Once I knew I was cooking my vegetables the way they should be cooked, I actually appreciated them way more (shout out to egg yolks in my risotto thank you for being a new level of delicious).
A Taste of Molecules
This follows one woman's journey to taste the molecules through food. She travels the world meeting with different food scientists of many different backgrounds. It completely blew my mind from a scientific stand point. There are so many things going on in food that we don't even realize.
SALT FAT ACID HEAT
This is one of my favorites. It is filled with facts about some of the most basic ingredients in cooking. The title comes from the only ingredients we need to make food just taste good - plain and simple. It makes sense, right? That taco of yours I hope you're eating right now will taste way better with an acidic squeeze of lime. I actually read this one more like a book, and now it comes second nature as to what I should be adding to my dishes to make them extra-delicious - like second or third helping delicious.
The Best Thing I Ever Tasted
I discovered this book during my time living in Portland, Oregon. This exposed my emotional connection to food. I slowly started to realize that I don't want ice cream because I want sugar, I want ice cream because I am stressed. Understanding my own emotional associations with certain foods I was eating (like cookies when I was homesick in college) helped me cater to my emotional needs (like just calling my mom instead of adding 2 tsp. of my tears to cookie dough). It also helped me develop that emotional feeling I have with food. I embrace how proud I feel when I have created a beautiful meal or photo of food.
This book is totally badass! Questlove (drummer for The Roots) took a relationship with food to a whole new level. He interviews incredibly talented and fascinating chefs and finds a lot of connection between them, musicians, and artists. His questions and interviews are deep, clever and mind-blowing. He selects chefs, both men and women, excelling in the world of food (which is a big, big world!). This book left me appreciative of how much hard work and innovative thinking these chefs do on a daily basis, and overall very inspired.
This book is for you pretentious nerds that want to ask a lot of questions during your booze/brewery tours. As I became more interested in the booze-world after becoming a *self-proclaimed* Booze Sorcerer, I wanted to know a little more about what makes GOOD tequila and GOOD wine. My wine and spirits class in college was actually v difficult but it had to cover so much in a semester, it was actually quite broad. Now that there are so many microbreweries pouring in everyday, I wanted to know which ones I should be supporting. This book is loaded with science and hilarious anecdotes about this man's booze research and travels. It also just exposes how much work, mentally and physically, goes into making my negroni, that I want to know that it is done right and I can feel good about drinking it!
What do you think? Are there any other food-related books that opened up your mind? I read food books, truly, everyday. I know that I can continue my growth and gratitude towards food and I hope I can create more gratitude for every meal, snack, and sip you have in your own life. Happy reading and eating!