Time Magazine released its list of the 100 best non-fiction books published since 1923 yesterday. Many of their choices are pretty safe -- it's not exactly shocking to see Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Speak, Memory or In Cold Blood on there. Indeed, it feels, at times, more like a 100 most-influential list than a 100-best list. (Where are John McPhee and Gay Talese?) But one surprising element of the Time picks is the preponderance of food-based books in their top 100.
The editors put three books in the "Food Writing" category: MFK Fisher's Depression-era cooking classic How To Cook A Wolf, Michael Pollan's sustainable food manifesto The Omnivore's Dilemma and Julia Child's pioneering bestseller Mastering The Art Of French Cooking. But the list also feature's Eric Schlosser's investigative look at quick service restaurants, Fast Food Nation, in the business section.
It's not like four is a huge haul for food books, but "non-fiction" is a pretty gigantic category. And for comparison's sake, the analogous list from the Modern Library, which had a fair bit of overlap with the Time list, had no books about food at all. Could the bumper crop be a sign of Josh Ozersky's influence at Time?