5 Books About Food to Devour

We whipped up a list of five books about food that set the table this Culinary Arts Month.


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Take Back the Tray by Joshna Maharaj (ECW Press)

Chef, activist, and co-host of the podcast Hot Plate Joshna Maharaj is an advocate for bringing hospitality, sustainability, and social justice to the table. In Take Back the Tray: Revolutionizing Food in Hospitals, Schools, and Other Institutions, Chef Joshna does just that, providing a blueprint on how to better serve the underserved people in our establishments. Part manifesto, part memoir, the book reconnects food with health, wellness, and education and makes a case for supporting local economy and reinvigorating the work of frontline staff. A delicious revolution!

Freshly Picked by Jane Reid (Caitlin Press)

It’s not soup weather just yet, but we’d be remiss to leave Jane Reid’s Freshly Picked: A Locavore’s Love Affair with BC’s Bounty off this list. A season-by-season collection of stories, memories, recipes, and fascinating information about British Columbia’s locally grown fruits and vegetables—facts about the sex life of corn, anyone?—this book combines a love of food and Canada’s most westernly province. Check out our Test Kitchen for an unbeetable borscht recipe from the book!

Apron Strings by Jan Wong (Goose Lane Editions)

In Apron Strings, award-winning author and journalist Jan Wong takes readers on a culinary dash through France, Italy, and China in food-culture-journeying Apron Strings. With her 22-year-old chef-trained son in tow and a serving of funny, and sometimes caustic observations, Jan lives and cooks with locals, seeing first-hand how globalization changes food customs and families.

Curry by Naben Ruthnum (Coach House Books)

Part of Coach House Book’s Exploded Views series, Naben Ruthnum’s Curry: Eating, Reading, and Race combines different varieties of literature—novels, recipes, travelogues—pop culture, and upbringing to ruminate on how a dish that doesn’t quite exist can have infinite, equally authentic variations. Broken into three sections as the subtitle suggests, Curry explores race, representation, and depictions of food in pop culture and how these representations of South Asian experience challenge and conform to audience expectations. Now that’s a hot take!

Butter Cream by Denise Roig (Signature Editions)

When fiction writer Denise Roig ditched everything at 56-years-old to attend professional pastry chef school for a year, she didn’t know that she was getting herself into a world of intense pastry-schooling. Full of fights, friendship, fallen cakes, and rising doughs, her memoir Butter Cream: A Year in a Montreal Pastry School is a delightful, drama-filled retelling of one year in the life of a pastry-chef-in-training. Butter Cream will inspire you to whip out your whisks—perfect for pandemic reading!

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