Since I started asking this question of different people from the food community, I have received completely varied answers with one exception. Kim Severson’s new book Spoon Fed was recommended in two responses. Kim has been writing for the New York Times for the past six years, and prior to that, she wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her resume includes time as an editor and reporter at The Anchorage Daily News and writing for daily newspapers on the West Coast. She has won four James Beard awards for food writing. On her site, you can keep up with Kim’s latest work and share your own kitchen stories. I asked Kim: what are you reading?
I am reading Hog and Hominy: Soul Food From Africa to America by Frederick Douglass Opie. It’s a terrific examination of the history of soul food in America. I wrote a story for The New York Times about food in the Bronx, and one of my editors suggested it. The book starts with folk traditions and cooking in West Africa and takes you all the way through Malcolm X and bean pies and the healthy soul food revolution in the 1980s.
I am also re-reading For You, Mom, Finally by Ruth Reichl. It came out in paperback with a different title, which was Not Becoming My Mother. Ruth really hated that title. It’s a very sweet book, full of insight and angst both from a daughter’s perspective and a writer’s perspective.
Last, I have a copy of Great Recipes from The New York Times on the pile. The women who run Omnivore Books in San Francisco gave it to me recently. Raymond Sokolov, who was the food editor at the Times in the 1970s, put it together. It’s really kind of a fun, fussy history lesson, what with all those recipes for pheasant and vegetable charlotte.
Thank you for participating, Kim! Check back to see who answers the question next time and what other books are recommended.
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