Hello peeps and Happy International Literacy Day. If you are here reading this count yourself fortunate that you are not one of the 781 million people in the world today who are illiterate. Click on the image below for UNESCO’s most recent infographic on world literacy.
As I had mentioned in my Hello September post, I found some inspiration for this month’s posts via Brittany’s September Writing Prompts post which suggested that on occasion of International Literacy Day, we share the five books that have changed our lives. However, in trying to stay relevant to the content of this blog and since there are way more than five books that I consider have changed my life (by the way, friend me on goodreads if you like) I decided I would share the top five books that have impacted my relationship with food. Here they are:
- When it comes to foodie books, Michael Pollan takes the cake, though he might not eat it 😀 The first book of his I read was The Omnivore’s Dilemma which was a mandatory read for my graduate course on environmental communication. The class, and in a big way, this book made me very critical of food sources and foodways and I became a vegetarian, a regular at fresh food markets, and overall a much more conscious eater. Although the new behaviors didn’t really stick for long and today I consider myself much more of a flexitarian, the lessons ran deep.
- Three years after The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan published my favorite of all his books, Food Rules: an eater’s manual. The lesson is simple: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. If there is one little book I think everyone should have in their kitchen it’s this one. I truly believe that. Many of the rules in this book were already present in The Omnivore’s Dilemma but this book is much much shorter and simply straight to the point. There are 83 rules in the book; these are my favorite ones:
- Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients.
- If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.
- Eat animals that have themselves eaten well.
- If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re probably not hungry.
- I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver on a whim. I saw the book at my local bookstore, it looked interesting, and I took it home. It’s a story about a family that, for a year, decides to only eat food they can either grow themselves or buy locally. I don’t want to give it away so I’ll simply say that I was left in awe of what this family was able to accomplish without killing each other. I don’t think I would have lasted a month. The book is funny and like with Pollan’s books, you learn a lot about food production, transportation, and sources.
- OK… let me go way way back in time. This and the next book I’ll talk about are the first fiction/non-fiction books I read where food was also a character. I was in my early twenties (maybe even late teens) and read them both in their original language (my native): Spanish. The first one was Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel which taught me that how you cook (your emotional state) is just as important as what you cook. In my current journey I have found that enjoying the food I make and enjoying making it keeps me committed.
- The second book where food is a character is Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses by Isabel Allende. In this book, Allende intertwines food and love. Whether you give much credit to the aphrodisiac power of food, the recipes will for sure, at the very least, spice up your evening. Both Like Water for Chocolate and Aphrodite include recipes throughout the book which I suggest you try. You won’t be disappointed.
Happy Literacy Day!
What are your foodie books?