by Marion Nestle
Sep 22 2011

Recent books about food and cooking

Here are some of the books that have drifted my way.  These in particular are about food and cooking.

Jean-Claude Kaufmann, The Meaning of Cooking, Polity 2010.  Kaufmann is professor of sociology at the Sorbonne.  Here, he argues that the ordinary acts of creating and consuming food are how we create our most meaningful relationships with lovers, spouses, and offspring. 

Alice D. Kamps.  What’s Cooking Uncle Sam?  The Government’s Effect on the American Diet.  Records from the National Archives.  This is the terrific catalog of the terrific exhibit now playing at the National Archives in Washington DC until January 3, 2012.  The catalog contains most (not all, alas) of the illustrations from the exhibit.  These deal with the government’s role in farming, food products, dietary advice, meals for the military and other such matters.  For example:

Janet M. Cramer et al, editors.  Food as Communication; Communication as Food, Peter Lang 2011.  This is a collection of essays on scholarly food discourses, ranging from media coverage of school lunches to local, organic foods.  I blurbed this one: “Food as Communiction is a wonderful introduction to the field of food studies research.  These authors watched movies and television, examined package labels, visited exotic places, delved in wonderful libraries, and ate great food.”

  • chuck

    A recent book called Wheat Belly has gotten to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List. Has anyone read that? I feel it is a pretty important book.

  • Maddalena

    when I think to food gatherings I cannot but go back to this very interesting book, I like the novel like way of introducing non experts like me to the archeological and antropological world.I’m not sure historians would subscribe everything that’s in there but as poet, cook, mother, Italian, host of huge family food gatherings …. I liked it and enjoyed reading where our sitting at table toghether comes from

    cheers Maddalena Cantoni

  • I’m just delighted at the use of the phrase “pep and vigor”.

  • Anthro

    Lots to read and these seem entertaining as well as informative. I’m very interested in Foods of the Ancient Past as well. Thank you Maddelena!

  • Rachel

    Where/ when can these be purchased? I’m especially interested in “What’s Cooking Uncle Sam?”

  • Marion

    @Rachel: all except that one can be purchased at bookstores or online. “What’s Cooking” is from the National Archives: see


  • Awesome! I hope Mark Bittman writes a book soon…he’s recently taken a more political approach with his writing, and I really like it.

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