Your Next Favorite Food Book: 2021 Reading Roundup

By: Andreana Chou

It’s not too late to add a couple new books to your shelf or give one as a gift before 2022 rolls around. HRN hosts frequently interview authors about their insightful research on our food system and their ideas for making delicious meals from diverse foodways. From historical deep dives to memoirs, cookbooks, travelogs and beyond, this playlist is sure to have your next favorite food (or drink) book. Get to know authors with an incredible ability to tell stories that enrich our understanding of health and culture as well as impact our lives (and maybe even our diets).

The Book: The Noble Rot Book: Wine from Another Galaxy

The Podcast: Snacky Tunes Episode 475: Noble Rot & Landlady: Noble Rot magazine hit shelves in 2013, and nothing has been the same in the world of wine writing ever since. Irreverent, informative and just good fun, amongst Noble Rot’s pages the boundaries between gastronomy and the creative arts often melt away, and you’ll find stories like a compare-and-contrast tasting of French and California wines with Brian Eno. Dan Keeling, the magazine’s co-founder, joins us for the first half of the show to share with us Noble Rot’s new book, Wine from Another Galaxy, an all-encompassing guide to all things wine. 

The Book: Caribeños at the Table: How Migration, Health, and Race Intersect in New York City

The Podcast: Meant To Be Eaten Episode 120: What to Read Now: Melissa Fuster's Caribeños at the Table: This episode is part of a collaboration with Gastronomica: The Journal for Food Studies, hosted by editorial collective member Jaclyn Rohel. Jaclyn shares some new and soon-to-be published titles in food studies and is joined by her Gastronomica colleague Melissa Fuster in conversation about Melissa’s new book, Caribeños at the Table: How Migration, Health, and Race Intersect in New York City. An expert in both public health nutrition and food studies, Melissa weaves together research in history, policy, health, and everyday life to connect newcomers’ culinary practices to the complex structural factors that shape well-being. Melissa also discusses how this work led her to develop her community-based research initiative, the Latin American Restaurants in Action Project.

The Book: Plenty: A Memoir of Food and Family

The Podcast: Cutting the Curd Episode 465: Interview with Hannah Howard, author of the new book, Plenty: A Memoir of Food and Family: Diane sits down with Hannah Howard to discuss her new book and find out what makes this memoir so special. Hannah Howard is a writer and food expert who spent her formative years in New York eating, drinking, serving, bartending, cooking on hot lines, and flipping giant wheels of cheese in Manhattan institutions such as Picholine and Fairway Market. She has a BA from Columbia University and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Hannah has been published in New York Magazine, Salon, and SELF. Hannah is the author of two memoirs, Feast: True Love In and Out of the Kitchen and Plenty: A Memoir of Food and Family.

The Book: Defending Beef: The Ecological and Nutritional Case for Meat

The Podcast: What Doesn’t Kill You Episode 345: Defending Beef 2.0: Author Nicolette Hahn Niman comes back to talk about her revised and expanded, Defending Beef: The Ecological and Nutritional Case for Meat.

The Book: Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook: 200 Recipes Celebrating Maine's Culinary Past, Present, and Future

The Podcast: Feast Yr Ears Episode 207: The Maine Community Cookbook: Karl Schatz and Margaret Hathaway were living in New York in 2003 when they traveled the country to learn everything they could about raising goats and making cheese. After a year on the road they landed in Maine and have been running Ten Apple Farm ever since. After a few books about goat farming and cheese making they turned their attention last year to creating the Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook which contains 200 recipes that celebrate Maine's culinary past, present & future. They also just launched a podcast about community cookbooks called Cooking is Community. 

The Book: Black Smoke: African-Americans and the United States of Barbecue

The Podcast: Soul by Chef Todd Richards Episode 15: Adrian Miller: Adrian Miller is a scholar 
of African-American food ways. He is the author of several books including Soul Food, won him a 2014 James Beard Foundation award, and The President's Kitchen Cabinet, for which he was nominated for the 2018 NAACP Image Award for outstanding literary work - nonfiction. He is also a self-proclaimed "recovering lawyer" and served as a White House advisor to US President Bill Clinton. Host Todd Richards may have been most excited to talk with Adrian about barbecue. Todd just opened a barbecue restaurant and Adrian's writing a book on barbecue called Black Smoke: African-Americans and the United States of Barbecue

The Book: Ripe Figs: Recipes and Stories from Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus

The Podcast: Speaking Broadly Episode 150: Food Without Borders: Yasmin Khan: Yasmin Khan, a long-time human rights activist, is the author of Ripe Figs, a book focusing on the Eastern Mediterranean — part travelogue, part cookbook, part meditation on the notion of borders in the 21st century. We discuss the refugee crisis, what we can do as individuals and as a society to address the issues, and reasons for hope. "I've really grown to understand that there isn't some kind of (new) refugee crisis anywhere. People throughout all of history have migrated as a species when it's been necessary for our survival. It's just an intrinsic pattern of how we exist," Yasmin says. She also describes the spectacular recipes of the region and how they bring a sense of comfort, safety and a shared humanity. Tune in for a comprehensive take on how food crosses borders and bridges, rather than segregates, experiences.

The Book: Food Entrepreneurs in Africa: Scaling Resilient Agriculture Businesses

The Podcast: Item 13: An African Food Podcast Episode 66: Changing Food Narratives in Africa with Ndidi Nwuneli: Mrs. Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli is an expert on social innovation, African agriculture and nutrition, entrepreneurship, and youth development. She has over 25 years of international development experience and is a recognized serial entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and consultant. Through her work in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, she has shaped policy and led the design and execution of high-impact initiatives focused on strategy, organizational design, ecosystem solutions, and growth. Ndidi’s talks about her book, Food Entrepreneurs in Africa: Scaling Resilient Agriculture Businesses.

The Book: The Dry Challenge, How to Lose The Booze for Dry January, Sober October, And Any Other Alcohol-Free Month

The Podcast: All in the Industry Episode 276: Hilary Sheinbaum, The Dry Challenge: Shari Bayer's guest is Hilary Sheinbaum, a freelance journalist, who recently released a new book, The Dry Challenge, How to Lose The Booze for Dry January, Sober October, And Any Other Alcohol-Free Month. As a reporter, Hilary has covered topics ranging from celebrity red carpets to chef interviews, cocktail trends to new fitness classes, beauty treatments to wedding styles, and everything in between. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today,, Travel + Leisure, Yahoo!, and many other publications. Hilary grew up in South Florida, and currently resides in New York City. She has been a Dry January participant and advocate since 2017. Today's show also features Shari's PR tip to be sober curious; Industry News discussion; and Solo Dining delivery experience from Pecking House in Queens, NYC.

The Book: What’s Good?: A Memoir in Fourteen Ingredients

The Podcast: Feast Yr Ears Episode 204: One of the greats: Peter Hoffman: For 26 years Peter Hoffman presided over the kitchen (and everything else) at Savoy, Back Forty and Back Forty West. His style of cooking what was fresh and in season, wasn't popular in the restaurant world back in 1990 when first opened Savoy, but it has come to define a generation of chefs. In his new book, What’s Good?: A Memoir in Fourteen Ingredients Peter recounts stories from his life, his time in the kitchen alongside recipes that both define and explain his ideas around food. Tune in to hear Harry and Peter dig in! 

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