5 books that will change the way you think about food

5 books that will change the way you think about food

Looking to find out more about the food you eat? Or just brush up on your recipe repertoire? Well, this list of 5 books includes the ones that have most affected the way I think about food over the last couple of years. They’re all worth a read if you’re looking for something new!

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these yourself, and what you thought?

1. Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat (Phillip Lymbery)

Phillip Lymbery is the Chief Executive Officer of Compassion in World Farming – an animal welfare charity who fight to end the practice of factory farming. In Farmageddon, Phillip  goes on a terrifying investigative journey behind the closed doors of the factory farming industry – from the UK, Europe and the USA, to China, Argentina, Peru and Mexico. Did you know for instance, that the main reason for hacking down the remaining South American rainforest these days, is to grow soy to feed the pigs and chickens of China? Farmageddon is both a wake-up call to change our current food production and eating practices, and an attempt to find a way to a better farming future. Buy now: Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat

2. Any of the 7 food books written by Joanna Blythman

It was my old boss, Matt Appleby of Roath Brewery, who introduced me to Joanna Blythman, an award-winning investigative journalist, and one of the most authoritative, influential commentators on the British food chain. If I can get you to read ONE book from this list, it would be your pick of any of the 7 titles written by Joanna.

Honestly, I love everything she writes. Bad Food Britian for example, explores why it is that in the UK, our children eat food that is more nutririonally lacking than their counterparts in South African townships, and why our hospitals can sell fast-food burgers but not home-baked cake. What to Eat, is a more empowering title, a fantastic book which explores the issues affecting our food choices day to day, and answers the most frequently asked questions such as ‘Is farmed fish better than wild?’; ‘Is red meat bad for you?’; ‘Could GM food feed the world?’; ‘Is it better to drink bottled or tap water?’; and ‘Are organic foods really worth the extra expense?’. Essential reading. Buy now: Bad Food Britain: How A Nation Ruined Its Appetite or What to Eat: Food that’s good for your health, pocket and plate

3. Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give A F**k

Thug Kitchen started life as a vegan recipe blog, and an antidote to the world of cookbooks which preach about ‘how to eat more kale, why ginger fights inflammation, and how to cook with microgreens and nettles’. Thug Kitchen instead includes more than 100 vegan recipes suitable for everyone from beginner cooks to home chefs, all presented with humour, simplicity and more than a little bit of bad language. In a world full of airy-fairy, mother-earth veganism, this is the foul-mouthed cookbook which flips that stereotype on its head. Buy now: Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F**k

4. A Greedy Man in a Hungry World (Jay Rayner)

In this book, Jay Rayner argues that buying ‘locally’ does no good, and that farmers’ markets are merely a lifestyle choice. He also offers the opinion that ‘organic’ is little more than a marketing label, and one that has been eclipsed by the need for sustainable intensification. Whilst I don’t agree with everything he has to say, or indeed, the obnoxious way he often says it, this book certainly offers plenty of food for thought, and if anything, highlights just how huge -and confusing – the issue of feeding our ever-growing population has become. Buy now: A Greedy Man in a Hungry World: How (Almost) Everything You Thought You Knew About Food Is Wrong

5. Posh Toast (Emily Kydd)

On a lighter note that the previous titles in this list, I had to include Posh Toast because it is fast becoming one of my favourite day-to-day recipe books – it’s especially good for weekend brunch. If you’re the type of person who is daunted by the idea of cooking, this is a great book to get you started – and it most importantly, it proves that great food doesn’t have to be complicated. This little hard back book contains more than 70 recipes for every time of day, covering breakfast, lunch, snacks and supper.  Recipes include: brioche toast with peaches and cream, roasted tomato and goats cheese tartine, and thyme-buttered mushrooms with whipped gorgonzola, rocket, and honey. You’ll never want beans from a tin on white bread, ever again. Buy now: Posh Toast: Over 70 recipes for glorious things on toast 

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6 Comments

  1. March 5, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    Jay Rayner talks nonsense. I’m pretty sure my purchase of locally baked bread using flour milled five miles away, locally grown fruit, honey from down the road etc etc helps keep local people employed and their own families fed. And that’s good enough for me.

    • March 5, 2017 / 9:33 pm

      That book made me quite angry, but I can see where his thinking comes from in terms of the challenges of feeding our growing populations at least. Much as a lot of what he says made me angry, I think it’s important to read up on multiple opinions and I do think it’s an interesting read. xx

  2. Illtud Dunsford
    March 18, 2017 / 8:01 am

    I found Farmageddon quite challenging. The soya example isn’t as straightforward as it seems. The demand for soya may be the cause of deforestation, but the deforested land is mainly for beef production. The deforested lands of the 1970’s and 80’s for beef have now been turned to soya and so the large beef producers look for new (cheaper) land. As for the demand for soya, we’re as much to blame as China. If you eat non-organic pork, chicken, beef or lamb or consume milk or dairy products all those animals (for the most part) will have consumed soya, most probably Brazilian.

    • HungryCityHippy
      March 18, 2017 / 8:47 am

      What about organic dairy products? Are they from soya fed cows too? What would you recommend to someone trying to eat more sustainably? It’s a minefield isn’t it 😣

      • Illtud Dunsford
        March 18, 2017 / 9:15 am

        Organic in both meat and dairy should be fine. Organic certification doesn’t allow GM and as 95%+ of the soya is GM it’s instantly unavailable as part of the ration. Eating soya as part of a plant based diet is equally as bad, I try and avoid it completely as I’m pretty sure that the soya in those is GM too. I just can’t see how Europe is producing enough non GM for human food products.

        We’re not Organic ourselves but we’re non-soya and non-GM.

        • HungryCityHippy
          March 18, 2017 / 9:19 am

          Ok that’s really good to know as we generally buy organic dairy and meat. It certainly shows how wrong Jay Rayners ideas about it being just a marketing term are.

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