accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Starting a foodie book club

Picture 4For almost six years, I’ve belonged to a book club with a wonderful group of fellow moms. We each take turns selecting books and leading the discussions. Of course, I often choose books with a food-related theme. And then at one point, I noticed my next turn in the rotation happened to be close to two years out.

While the ladies assured me that the rotation was assigned in alphabetical order, I had a hunch they may have grown tired of my culinary theme. So last summer, I decided to start a separate book club, one devoted to food-related topics.

For the club’s format, we pair a book with a related experience. For our inaugural event, we read “Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil” by Tom Mueller. The book weaves through the history of olive oil, telling tales of fraud, mislabeling and adulteration of the product. For our event, we met at Oli & Ve for discussion and oil tastings, talking with owners Suzanne Davidson and Deborah Hardee about their oils and how they ensure that they don’t receive the lampante (lamp oil, as Mueller refers to adulterated oils).

For our second book, we dove into the world of wine with “Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine” by Benjamin Wallace. Like our olive oil tale, we explored wine fraud and the sale of the $156,000 two-hundred-year-old wine that supposedly belonged to Thomas Jefferson.

After reading Wallace’s book, we met for a wine tasting and seminar on the age-ability of wines led by Elizabeth Schneider, sommelier and author of the popular blog Wine for Normal People.

Next up, we’ll explore coffee with “Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks” by Bryant Simon and then it’s on to salt with “Salt: A World History” by Mark Kurlansky.

Any other food-related reads we should consider?

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

20 comments Add your comment

stephieZ

March 12th, 2013
7:37 am

Salt: a World History
The Botany of Desire (or any other one of Michael Pollans books)

stephieZ

March 12th, 2013
7:37 am

Whoops, I didn’t read that last line:)

stephieZ

March 12th, 2013
7:38 am

The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It

Curry Cravings

March 12th, 2013
8:27 am

Are you looking at ingredient-specific books or cuisine specific? I am writing a cuisine specific book.. Preview it at: http://tinyurl.com/alevwb4 We can talk . . .

Kar

March 12th, 2013
8:40 am

There was a similar book but I can’t find the title, how Chicken, Rice and Corn changed the world. Surprisingly fascinating.

becky

March 12th, 2013
9:00 am

A History of the World in Six Glasses, by Tom Standage. How various beverages impacted history (beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, Coca-cola).

Debbie

March 12th, 2013
9:37 am

I love this idea. When I was in a book club years ago I always picked books that had a food theme. We read fiction though. One I enjoyed – The History of Chocolate by James Runcie.

Lisa

March 12th, 2013
9:43 am

Nutmeg! How nutmeg gained it’s spot in the spice world. And how how and difficult it was to get it!
Love the idea of a food book club. Way better than the Oprah selections in my mind!

Homeless Man

March 12th, 2013
10:43 am

How to be less pretentious about enjoying food and not using stupid terms like “foodie” by Regular Human

Kar

March 12th, 2013
11:02 am

Lisa, there was a show on the history of spices a few years ago.

One of the English trading companies was admonishing the Far Eastern plantations for growing nutmeg instead of concentrating solely on the more lucrative mace.

[...] Starting a foodie book club [...]

Sarah

March 12th, 2013
2:06 pm

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg is my favorite food memoir ever. Very poignant, great recipes, just an outstanding read.

AtlantaBill

March 12th, 2013
3:27 pm

How about “Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World” by Mark Kurlansky.

Shazam

March 12th, 2013
3:37 pm

Check out: “Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World” by Dan Koeppel and “Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit” by Barry Estabrook. Two great reads.

Aaron

March 12th, 2013
10:23 pm

AtlantaBill and Shazam make great recommendations. I would like to add to their list “Devil in the Kitchen” by Marco Pierre White. You won’t be disappointed.

M. Johnson

March 13th, 2013
9:14 am

I read Salt with my book club. It was very underwhelming and felt more like a history book. I’m told that Cod, by the same author, is much better. Perhaps you should try that.

Love the story about being taken out of the rotation. My book club’s reading list is so long that we have forgotten who suggested each book!

Please share more thoughts on your books. I also welcome suggestions for book club-friendly restaurants.

Jenny Turknett

March 13th, 2013
9:52 am

Thanks, everyone. What great suggestions! M. Johnson, thanks for the perspective on Salt. And maybe a roundup of restaurants appropriate for meetings would be a good idea…

Robert

March 13th, 2013
12:08 pm

“The Hundred Foot Journey” by Richard Morais – Fiction. I ran across this one by accident in the library – excellent book. Indian family move to France. The young son has a talent for cooking and learns the French style. Interesting because of the weaving together of the two cultures.

“Heat” by Bill Buford. – Non-Fiction. Buford was a journalist who decided he wanted to get into cooking. Worked with Batali, studied in Italy. Very entertaining and informative. You learn a lot about restaurant kitchens.

“The Man Who Ate Everything” and “It Must Have Been Something I Ate” both by Jeffrey Steingarten. Both are facinating, factual, funny, and opinionated.

“1493″ by Charles Mann. Not really about food but facinating about how Columbus’ “discovery” of the new world affected the entire globe. Much of this is how Old World edible plants affected the New World and vice-versa. Scholarly and facsinating.

Bee Hive Haired cashier at Dooleys Den

March 13th, 2013
1:56 pm

Yeah…..The book club got tired of your crappy reading list and sent you packing. Not everyone is obsessed with food.