9 Fascinating & Informative Non-Fiction Books About Food

There are billions of people on this planet, and while we all lead vastly different lives, we have one thing in common: food. Since it's necessary for our survival, we all have to figure out what we want to eat. From deep cultural roots to ethically & environmentally conscious diets, there are plenty of different lenses through which we can look at nutrition. The nine non-fiction books listed here each take a unique approach for how to discuss food, health, spices, & more. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

9 Fascinating & Informative Non-Fiction Books About Food

Title Author(s)
1. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles Jennifer 8. Lee
2. The Secret Life of Fat Sylvia Tara
3. Apples of Uncommon Character Rowan Jacobsen
4. The Cooking Gene Michael W. Twitty
5. Protest Kitchen Carol J. Adams & Virginia Messina
6. A Mouthful of Stars Kim Sunée
7. The Sugar Barons Matthew Parker
8. Ritz and Escoffier Luke Barr
9. Cumin, Camels, and Caravans Gary Paul Nabhan

Different Types of Cookbooks

The Importance of Food and Culture

In Depth

Aside from playing an important role in our survival, food also unites traditions and cultures all around the globe. Whether you're looking to change your eating habits or just want to learn something new about the culinary world, there's plenty of great reading material out there that will satisfy your needs. With that said, here are nine fascinating and informative books about food, listed here in no particular order.

First up, at #1, we have "The Fortune Cookie Chronicles" by Jennifer Lee. Unbeknownst to many, there are more Chinese restaurants in the United States than McDonalds and Burger Kings combined. In her book, Lee digs deep into the history of Chinese-American culture and cuisine, exploring topics such as the origin of fortune cookies, soy sauce production in America, and the conception of chop suey and General Tso's chicken.

Next, at #2, is "The Secret Life of Fat" by Sylvia Tara. Despite the general populace's aversion to body fat, our bodies still need it in order to function properly. Citing several case studies, biochemist Sylvia Tara discusses the importance of fat and the many factors that affect how people gain and lose it, such as genetics and viral infections. The author also describes her personal experience with weight loss and the techniques she used to achieve her goals.

The author also describes her personal experience with weight loss and the techniques she used to achieve her goals.

At #3 is "Apples of Uncommon Character" by Rowan Jacobsen. The author writes about over a hundred different kinds of apples in North America, describing the appearance, rarity, taste, and history of each in depth. The book includes photographs that perfectly showcase the fruit's beauty and help readers differentiate the different varieties. Towards the end, Jacobsen also provides a collection of apple recipes that food lovers are sure to enjoy.

Next up, at #4, we have "The Cooking Gene" by Michael W. Twitty. In his memoir, culinary historian Twitty explores the roots of Southern cuisine and the history of slavery in America by delving deep into his own family's past. With the help of DNA tests and meticulous research, he describes the types of food his ancestors used to eat and how modern soul food is heavily influenced by African culture and the racial politics of the South.

Next, at #5, is "Protest Kitchen" by Carol J. Adams and Virginia Messina. The writers address the many social and moral issues, such as labor rights and animal cruelty, behind some popular food choices. By advocating for veganism, Adams and Messina aim to show readers just how much our diets can affect the world around us. Throughout the text, they also recommend some healthy plant-based alternatives and recipes for aspiring vegans and environmentalists.

By advocating for veganism, Adams and Messina aim to show readers just how much our diets can affect the world around us.

At #6 is "A Mouthful of Stars" by Kim Sunee. Each country has its own distinctive cuisine, and after traveling extensively, Sunee shines a spotlight on some of the unique dishes she has encountered. This cookbook contains the author's interpretation of eighty different exotic recipes from around the world, including captivating photos and stories of her adventures leading up to the discovery of each dish.

Next, at #7, is "The Sugar Barons" by Matthew Parker. From 1650 all the way to the early 19th century, sugar was one of the most lucrative commodities in the world. This book covers the history of the sugar industry in the Caribbean islands, which Europeans fought over due to the abundance of plantations in the area. Parker mainly focuses on the British Empire's colonization of the West Indies, detailing the exploitation and slavery that brought immense wealth to the powers that be.

At #8 is "Ritz and Escoffier" by Luke Barr. In 1889, renowned hotelier Cesar Ritz and executive chef Auguste Escoffier are hired by Richard D'Oyly Carte to work in his brand new Savoy Hotel in London. The story follows the eponymous partners as they lead the Savoy to success, revolutionizing hotel service and food preparation in the process. Barr also writes about the ups and downs of their respective careers, from their humble beginnings all the way to their partnership with Carte and the founding of the first Ritz Hotel.

Barr also writes about the ups and downs of their respective careers, from their humble beginnings all the way to their partnership with Carte and the founding of the first Ritz Hotel.

Finally, at #9, we have "Cumin, Camels, and Caravans" by Gary Paul Nabhan. The author takes a close look at the history of the spice trade, weaving in stories of his own ancestors and personal adventures through ancient routes to provide additional details. It's a highly informative book that's perfect for anyone who is interested in the world of spices and wants to learn more about the role they play in the global economy.