For 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