Food and sex are two of the three most important things that consume our waking moments. As an unabashed foodie, (there I said it – the F word), I devour almost anything to do with food. Food porn is a term that was most definitely invented for people like me who stare at food pictures and drool and watch food shows like they have been cast away on a remote island with only a coconut shell for company.
Good god, is there is almost anything as pleasurable in this world as a well-made dish of food that takes into account your personal likes and preferences? And especially if you also happen to be hungry just then…. hmmm…. that’s a double whammy straight to the gut. The funny thing is that the definition of food varies so much across the world. In fact, we just have to look at the kitchens of our own country to know what an amazing variety of ingredients and combinations exist!
Warning: This compilation of food books is not limited to cookbooks, some of the books included are a quiet scrutiny of what food means to human beings and how we should absorb the making of it and the eating of it into our daily lives as a celebration and a blessing.
In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan
Without whiff of a doubt, one of my most favourite food writers ever, Michael Pollan puts food exactly where it belongs – out of tins, cartons and packets, right into fields, gardens and kitchen patches. He makes the case for eating ‘real’ food passionately and yet rationally. I have succumbed to the sheer common sense of his argument and am a total fan girl. ‘In Defence of Food’ is a must read for a foodie.
Eat Your Heart Out by Felicity Lawrence
I can’t remember a book being more of an eye opener than this slim little volume. Filled with food facts about the food industry and how commercialisation of food production has given rise to practices that are devastating to the earth and the food we grow and eat. Why did certain kinds of food come about, why do we need to be acutely aware of all that is going on in the name of food and how do we combat the food giants in order to ensure the food quality of each meal we consume. Wonderful book – buy it for yourself or gift it to a foodie – she’ll bless you for it .
50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi
A definitive anthology of the great Indian curry. Simply written with clear and lucid instructions from the woman who helped build the culinary reputation of the Taj hotel chain. If you love curries like any good Indian, this is a book worth every page. All the recipes are decoded and explained without fuss and without any jargon. One of my favourite cookbooks. Between this book, my Kashmiri neighbours, my Lucknowi colleague’s mother and my own repertoire, I am pretty much am at home with the curry as India knows it.
Madhur Jaffrey’s Simple Indian Cookery
Nothing really needs to be said to introduce Madhur Jaffrey, popular TV cook show host and author of many, many volumes on Indian cooking. Most of us know her and have watched her deftly cook her way across the country thanks to the BBC. She’s also an accomplished actress and author of a warm childhood memoirs, ‘Climbing the Mango Trees’.
The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten
Steingarten was an ordinary human being and food lover, much like the rest of us. Then one day, he was appointed the food critic for Vogue magazine. That changed him forever. To quote him, “Suddenly, intense food preferences, whether phobias or cravings, struck me as the most serious of all personal limitations. That very day I sketched out a Six-Step Program to liberate my palate and my soul. No smells or tastes are innately repulsive, I assured myself, and what’s learned can be forgot.” That also led to a number of experiments and discoveries and also many superb food essays which led to this book. A must-read for the food explorer.