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The Books Briefing: Following Food From Field to Market to Plate

📚 Provisions: The Roots of Caribbean Cooking, by Michelle and Suzanne Rousseau


The why of cooking

“I was looking for ‘a metacookbook’—a book not about a certain cuisine or style of cooking, but about cooking itself—and I found good ones to be surprisingly rare.”

📚 Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, by Samin Nosrat

📚 How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman

📚 On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, by Harold McGee

📚 The Food Lab, by J. Kenji López-Alt

📚 Ruhlman’s Twenty, by Michael Ruhlman


(New York Public Library)

A book for anyone who eats seafood

“An avid angler, [Paul] Greenberg takes fish conservation personally … The four fish he has chosen to focus on mark distinct steps in the grim worldwide decline and human attempts to ameliorate it.”

📚 Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, by Paul Greenberg


Grocery stores: an American miracle

“The grocery store has swallowed up a series of small businesses that people used to shop at one at a time—bakeries, butcher stores, delis, liquor stores, florists—and put them under one roof.”

📚 Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America, by Michael Ruhlman


Eat food. All the time. Mostly junk.

“Our relationship with food, wholly transformed since the ’60s in ways both heartening and horrifying, has lost touch with a truth none of us can afford to leave behind: Cooking isn’t a luxury; it’s a survival skill.”

📚 The Way We Eat Now: How the Food Revolution Has Transformed

Our Lives, Our Bodies, and Our World
, by Bee Wilson

📚 Pressure Cooker: Why Home Cooking Won’t Solve Our Problems and What

We Can Do About It
, by Sarah Bowen, Joslyn Brenton, and Sinikka Elliott


The Reference Desk

(New York Public Library)

Write to the Books Briefing team at booksbriefing@theatlantic.com or reply directly to this email with any of your reading-related dilemmas. We might feature one of your questions in a future edition of the Books Briefing and offer a few books or related Atlantic pieces that might help you out.


About us: This week’s newsletter is written by Myles Poydras. The book he’s reading right now is Mules and Men, by Zora Neale Hurston.


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