Some hugely influential books for me the last several years, listed in the order they came into my life...
I'll read anything this guy writes. I saw him on Oprah and was hooked. This was my first Pollan book, and it's radical yet accessible. This is legendary now: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
I've been reading Kingsolver novels since high school, but this memoir fascinated me. "This is the story of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air." Includes some great recipes, too.
Another Pollan. This edition was given to me by good friend, Natalia and has fantastic illustrations by Maira Kalman. I typically don't like the concept of 'rules' as an artist, but these are ones to live by:
"Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader could not pronounce"
"Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle"
"Eat your colors"
A beautifully illustrated book about what happens on a farm. Growing up in Kansas you'd think I had a clue. Nope. Learn how to plow a field, name all the crazy farm equipment, types of roosters and their combs, how to shear sheep, parts of a bee, what flowers are edible, and so much more. I need to appreciate where my food comes from, and the many magical steps of creation involved before it even gets to my kitchen.
Got this book for Christmas from my mother a few months before my bariatric surgery. Showed me how to purée and bring great dishes to more solid stages as I healed. Healthy recipes for everyone. Protein and portion amounts carefully listed, vital for adjusting to a new way of life. I tried lots of recipes on my friends at 'tester dinner parties.'
Gorgeous photos. Reminds me that you only need a few fresh ingredients to make an excellent dish. My friend Randi had a copy and graciously passed it on to me, along with a stack of Food and Wine magazines that I'm totally hooked on.
The latest and greatest. Present from my Dad this last Christmas. Came across the blog first, fell in love. Shows you how to organize your kitchen, stick your pantry, pick the knives that work for you. Lists essential equipment and 50 essential cooking skills. Lots of goals I can wrap my head around that are not overwhelming at this point. My kitchen is a second studio; in fact I spend more time there now than in my art studio. This book will be on my counter in reach non-stop.