Food for Thought

The Best Books, Movies, Shows, Magazines and Podcasts on Food

December 7, 2015 Culture : Books By Photo by Bon Appétit

Any way you cut it, by the time a meal hits our table, each ingredient has experienced a fantastic odyssey. The final product may be a plate of exotic ingredients teeming with flavor, carefully constructed by passionate hands, or it may be a greasy meat patty between two soggy buns, dropped in a styrofoam clamshell by a teenager working a summer job. And culinary culture is as wide ranging as the food we eat. These are the best books, movies, shows, magazines and podcasts to explore the world of food; dig in, and bon appétit.

best-food-books-gear-patrol-medium-raw Medium Raw
Anthony Bourdain
Kitchen Confidential, the book that made Anthony Bourdain famous, didn’t necessitate a followup. But since his breakout book, Bourdain has become a massive TV star. In his own words, he has become “a loud, egotistical, one-note hole who’s been cruising on the reputation of one obnoxious, over-testosteroned book for way too long.” In the same way his first book went for the jugular of fellow chefs, Medium Raw does the same for his now fellow foodie TV personalities. $12
best-food-books-gear-patrol-omnivore-dilemmia The Omnivore’s Dilemma
Michael Pollan
With the advancement in food storage and transportation, the food we eat is no longer dictated by season or region. Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma explores the least picky of eaters, the omnivore human, and dives into four different food chains that feed this unique beast (us). The resulting study ends up being an intelligent critique of the modern American diet. $11
best-food-books-gear-patrol-eating-animals Eating Animals
Jonathan Safran Foer
The majority of the nation eats most of their meals without giving a fleeting thought to where the food came from. One of the hottest topics of discussion right now is the atrocious facts and figures that come from factory farms and slaughterhouses. Eating Animals takes a look at commercial fisheries, factory farms and slaughterhouse conditions, and at the same time examines the cultural meaning of food and the relationship we have with it. $12
best-food-books-gear-patrol-between-meals Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris
AJ Liebling
Most foodies dreams of eating their way through Paris. Between Meals is AJ Liebling’s chronicle of just that. It’s peppered with stories of visiting friends and family, colorful comparisons of people to the meals he eats, and complaints about how rich people go to “great” restaurants but will be “unlikely to make the acquaintance of meat dishes of robust taste.” $12
best-food-books-gear-patrol-consider-the-lobster Consider the Lobster
David Foster Wallace
Lobster, and the culinary status it holds, today, is elevated to say the least. Maine even has a state festival celebrating the tasty crustacean. In “Consider the Lobster,” David Foster Wallace attends the Maine Lobster Festival and brings to light aspects of lobster consumption that few are comfortable with. Wallace points out that “until sometime in the 1800s, though, lobster was literally low-class food, eaten only by the poor and institutionalized.” But the main striking point of Wallace’s essay isn’t to counter lobster culture, but to point out the difficult ethical nuances of boiling an animal alive for our own sustenance and enjoyment. Article Here | Essay Collection.
best-food-books-gear-patrol-lucky-peach Lucky Peach
A quality quarterly print magazine that each issue focuses on a single theme. Through recipes, art, essays and photography, each theme (this winter’s is breakfast) is explored, discovered and rediscovered. Learn More
best-food-books-gear-patrol-bon-appetit Bon Appétit
Very few magazines can be considered the hallmark of the industry they belong to. Whether it’s recipes, culinary culture, restaurant and food-centric travel journalism, Bon Appétit is the benchmark, a recommended first source. In other words, it’s the Nat Geo of the culinary industry. Learn More
best-food-books-gear-patrol-parts-unknown Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
There are too many unlit corners around the world where culinary culture actually plays a big hand in society. Where No Reservations and The Layover peered more at slightly-less-but-still-touristy locales of the globe, Parts Unknown shifts focus to the roads less traveled. Here, food, the part it plays in socioeconomics, its history and its presence today in peripheral destinations find the spotlight. Learn More
best-food-books-gear-patrol-munchies Munchies
Munchies packs all the snark, wit, cynicism, and creativity you could expect from Vice, with a foodie focus. The show’s how-to guides, investigative reporting and cultural spotlights are both entertaining and informative. Watch Now
best-food-books-gear-patrol-fast-food-nation Fast Food Nation
Richard Linklater
There’s no doubt that fast food has American roots and a global reach. Also undeniable is the often disturbing underbelly of the industry, with worryingly low standards for the food, processes and working conditions. The book of the same name Fast Food Nation has been described as this generation’s The Jungle. The movie however, explores the industry through an entertaining nonfiction comedy-drama. Learn More
best-food-books-gear-patrol-chef Chef
Jon Favreau
Anyone who has worked in a kitchen can tell you it’s a colorful place, to say the least. Beyond the spices and ingredients, the personalities can be just as varied. Written, produced, directed by and starring Jon Favreau, Chef shares a lighthearted look at chef Carl Casper’s struggle to cook the food he loves at a high-end restaurant that won’t have it. The result? He quits and fixes up a food truck. Learn More
best-food-books-gear-patrol-splendid-table2 The Splendid Table
Lynne Rossetto Kasper
On NPR’s The Splendid Table, award-winning podcast host Lynne Rossetto Kasper celebrates culinary culture and lifestyle from all over the world. Along with notable guests, she talks about food and the role it plays in our lives through personal stories and interactions. Learn More
best-food-books-gear-patrol-good-food KCRW: Good Food
Evan Kleiman
Good Food, hosted by Evan Kleiman, moves the looking glass over life, culture and the humans who live and work in the food industry. Farmers, entrepreneurs, cooks, politicians and scientists — no person with an interest in the culinary world gets ignored. Listen Now