The year 2012 has been a good one for culinary-minded readers. We previously rounded up some great new spring cookbooks. Now, we took a look at some great new food books.
While these books may include recipes, the real meat of this crop is all about the story. From the learning about the life Colonel Sanders to how to really taste food, the books below can satisfy a range of culinary curiosities.
Check out some new food books of 2012:
Joe Bastianich's book landed with a bang on May 1, with immediate reports on which food industry folks were <a href="http://eater.com/archives/2012/05/01/mariani-bastianich.php" target="_hplink">pissed at the author</a>. That probably doesn't hurt sales though -- there's no such thing as too many "tell-all" accounts of the restaurant biz. And Bastianich is definitely a good man to share those stories. He grew up in a restaurant family (Lidia Bastianich is his mother) and has been Mario Batali's business partner for years. If he doesn't know the business well, then no one does. <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Restaurant-Man-Joe-Bastianich/dp/0670023523/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336598804&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">Restaurant Man, by Joe Bastianich</a></strong> Available now
Thomas McNamee's previous biography focused on Alice Waters and her influence on the culinary world. For his most recent book, he focuses on another culinary icon: Craig Claiborne, the first restaurant critic for the <em>New York Times.</em> Claiborne changed the face of the food world in the 1950s, but he wasn't always a happy man. Former and current restaurant critics <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/opinion/bruni-the-missing-ingredients-in-claibornes-life.html?ref=craigclaiborne" target="_hplink">Frank Bruni</a> and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/dining/craig-claiborne-set-the-standard-for-restaurant-reviews.html?_r=1&ref=craigclaiborne" target="_hplink">Pete Wells</a> of the <em>Times</em> have both penned pieces about Claiborne's influence and affect on cuisine. After all, without Claiborne, Bruni and Wells probably wouldn't have been where they are today. <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Man-Who-Changed-Way/dp/1439191506/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336659196&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat: Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance, by Thomas McNamee</a></strong> Available now
Probably every American has eaten a Birdseye frozen vegetable sometime in their life. And they all have Clarence Birdseye to thank. His fast-freezing process revolutionized the food industry and changed the face of suburban dinners as we know it. Author Mark Kurlansky is no stranger to exploring various food phenomenons -- his previous works such as "Cod" and "Salt" go deep into a subject matter that not everyone spends a ton of time thinking about. Birdseye follows a similar pattern -- you might not find fast-freezing that interesting on the surface, but Kurlansky will make you care. <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Birdseye-The-Adventures-Curious-Man/dp/0385527055/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336659613&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man, by Mark Kurlansky</a></strong> Available now
White bread is nearly as iconic as apple pie -- the Wonder Bread logo is omnipresent across the country. The bread's reputation has gone through its ups and downs, and regardless about how you feel about the processed loaf, it has already secured its place in America's food history. America has a love/hate relationship with bread, and this book explores that many ways it has infiltrated our culture. <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/White-Bread-Social-History-Store-Bought/dp/0807044679/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336659956&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf, by Aaron Bobrow-Stain</a></strong> Available now
Professional food developer Barb Stuckey argues that you're probably not tasting your food right. In fact, you probably don't even know how to taste it correctly. That's not because you aren't good at it -- it's just because no one is really taught how to taste. But, after reading her book, you make have a newfound appreciation for what you put in your mouth. <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Taste-What-Youre-Missing-Passionate/dp/1439190739/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336664995&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">Taste What You're Missing: The Passionate Eater's Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good, by Barb Stuckey</a></strong> Available now
Tracie McMillan's expose about working undercover as a farm worker, Applebee's employee and Walmart worker turned some heads early on after Rush Limbaugh started lambasting her. Her thoroughly-researched book shares tales of an oft-ignored part of the food world. She shares some of her thoughts <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tracie-mcmillan/food-in-america_b_1295035.html" target="_hplink">here</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/01/american-way-of-eating_n_1313631.html" target="_hplink">here</a>. <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-American-Way-Eating-Undercover/dp/1439171955/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336665596&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table, by Tracie McMillan</a></strong> Available now
Beirut's food culture has been attracting a lot of notice recently. Food magazines have been praising it and books like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Day-Honey-Memoir-Food-Love/dp/B005EP1OHE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336667763&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">Day of Honey</a> have highlighted the excellent food history the city has. Jasmine and Fire gives Beirut more food credence, as Salma Abdelnour returns to the city she was born in as an adult and takes comfort in its food traditions. <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Jasmine-Fire-Bittersweet-Year-Beirut/dp/0307885941/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336665656&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut, by Salma Abdelnour</a></strong> Available June 5
Alyssa Shelasky, food blogger extraordinaire for <em>New York</em> magazine's Grub Street wasn't always so excited about food. But then she fell for a chef and decided to teach herself how to cook. She may be a bona fide member of the food media now, but this book chronicles how she ended up where she is. <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Apron-Anxiety-Messy-Affairs-Kitchen/dp/0307952142/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336669321&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">Apron Anxiety: My Messy Affairs In and Out of the Kitchen, by Alyssa Shelasky.</a></strong> Available May 22
Mexican cuisine has been popular in the U.S. for awhile. But what exactly is it? And how has it changed? Gustavo Arellano explores the evolution of Mexican food in his new book. You may have heard of him from his "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gustavo-arellano/ask-a-mexican_b_1424674.html" target="_hplink">Ask A Mexican</a>!" column. He's also good for some excellent <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gustavo-arellano/best-mexican-restaurants_b_1417661.html" target="_hplink">taco recs</a> (we'd hope!). <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Taco-USA-Mexican-Conquered-America/dp/1439148619/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336669670&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, by Gustavo Arellano</a></strong> Available now
There are tons of books about cheese out -- if you want to learn some new ones to buy, or how to pair cheese with wine, that's no problem. But there aren't that many scholarly books about everyone's favorite type of dairy. Enter Cheese and Culture, which explores the place of cheese in Western civilization. Given the amount of amazing, artisanal cheese that is produced in the U.S. alone, it's about time that there's a diligently researched book on the subject. <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Cheese-Culture-History-Western-Civilization/dp/1603584110/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336670144&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">Cheese and Culture: A History of Cheese and its Place in Western Civilization, by Paul Kinstedt</a></strong> Available now
Food writer Josh Ozersky is pretty fascinated with American food culture. After all, his previous book was all about the hamburger. Now, he focuses on KFC icon Colonel Sanders. The Colonel is mostly just a logo now, but he was in fact a real person that embodied the pull-oneself-up-from-his-bootstraps philosophy. <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Colonel-Sanders-American-Discovering-America/dp/0292723822/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336670594&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">Colonel Sanders and the American Dream, by Josh Ozersky</a></strong> Available now
Peter Kaminsky has been a food writer for decades -- he's done it all from cookbooks to restaurant reviews. But now, after previously publishing a book titled Pig Perfect: Encounters with Remarkable Swine, he's <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/dining/the-author-peter-kaminsky-on-how-to-eat-wisely.html" target="_hplink">all about eating healthy</a>. The heavy-guy-gone-slim routine may have been done before, but it always helps to hear it again, especially when it comes from someone who loves food as much as he does. <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Culinary-Intelligence-Eating-Healthy-Really/dp/0307593371/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336670796&sr=1-1" target="_hplink">Culinary Intelligence: The Art of Eating Healthy (and Really Well), by Peter Kaminsky</a></strong> Available now
Want to know about Gail Simmon's life off camera? Dive into this breezy semi-memoir (can you write a memoir before you're 40?) that details how she got from step A to B to C in the food world. It's easy summer reading when you're sipping mojitos poolside -- but make sure you've packed some snacks. <strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Talking-Mouth-Full-Professional-ebook/dp/B0072M0X74/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1336670945&sr=8-2" target="_hplink">Talking with My Mouth Full: My Culinary Career from Line Cook to Food Writer to Professional Eater, by Gail Simmons</a></strong> Available now