After reading an enormous pile of research that convinces her that sugar is slowly killing us all, Eve convinces her family to go off of sugar for a year. All sugar – honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, table sugar, etc. By the end of the year, it only takes one bite of their monthly dessert to feel sick. Surprisingly, though, even though they lose their taste for sugar, they never stop really WANTING to eat sugar. (Also, they each pick one cheat food that they can have whenever they want, and somehow she convinces her two daughters to choose jam. JAM! If I was going to choose one food with sugar to eat for a year, it wouldn’t be JAM).
Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss
The title pretty much says it all. One of the things I remember most is that everyone tops out at how much sugar they can eat (meaning, eventually something can get so sweet you don’t want to eat it), but once they add fat to the mix, there is no limit to how much sugar you’ll enjoy. They couldn’t find a point where, if they added more sugar and fat, you stopped liking it. Also, if you can read this book without developing crazy cravings for PopTarts, you’re a stronger person than I am.
American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It) by Jonathan Bloom
Prepare to feel really guilty about how much food you waste. And spend more time thinking about refrigerator design than you ever have before (why are they so deep? It’s impossible not to lose stuff back there!) I read this 18 months ago, and I’m still telling people about the college in Oregon where 10% of the students don’t buy a meal plan and just eat the leftovers from other students in the cafeteria (there’s a designated table and everything for students to leave their half-eaten burgers and salad remains).
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink
This sounds like the driest book in the world, but it’s actually so amusing, I kept forgetting I was, you know, learning stuff. Did you know you eat way way more when you don’t see evidence of how much you’ve eaten (say, wrappers or bones from chicken wings)? And not only is it fascinating, it’s also useful. It’s packed with ideas for how to stop eating the whole bag of Doritos by accident. Also, if you’ve wondered how much soup you’d eat without noticing if your bowl was magically refilling itself, here’s your chance to get an answer (you were wondering, weren’t you?)
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
I don’t read a lot of graphic novels, but this one made me think I should read more of them. Born to parents who love food, Lucy’s city foodie existence takes a sharp turn when her parents divorce and she moves with her mother to a much smaller town where they start cultivating an enormous garden and join the slowly-burgeoning food scene. Lucy learns to appreciate food in a whole new way as she sees animals are raised and butchered, the intense amount of work growing a garden takes, and being part of her mother’s catering business. Every chapter ends with a recipe, made with hand-drawn pictures of each ingredient and a little illustrated chart showing how it all comes together.