The height of summer promises leisure. We dream of long days spent outside eating food that barely needs to be cooked and of cold drinks that last all afternoon and into the evening. It's also my favorite time to pick up a new book or two and get lost in someone else's story. Need some recommendations? I've found five deliciously awesome nonfiction books all about food that you need to pick up right now.
1. Give a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen (May 2017)
If you think you need to more to New York to become a great chef, then you're gravely mistaken. Cookbook author and food personality Amy Thielen chronicles her journey out of the Midwest to New York, where she follows a career as a fine-dining chef, and then her decision to return to rural Minnesota. The story covers so many aspects of cooking and food — restaurant work, food memories, and ultimately what it means to be a Midwestern cook (think: less purées, more stews).
2. Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America by Amy Ettinger (June 2017)
Need a book that will help you cool down at the beach? I have just the thing. Journalist Amy Ettinger explores the rich and delicious history of ice cream in America, highlighting everything about this cold treat from how to make the best ice cream, to turf wars between ice cream trucks, to all the wacky flavors that have been made (oyster ice cream, anyone?).
3. Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America by Michael Ruhlman (May 2017)
Kitchn readers are obsessed with grocery stores. They have strong opinions about the best snacks to buy from Trader Joe's, and the cult-like items you can only find at Costco. That's why I was so excited when I heard bestselling author Michael Ruhlman was tackling grocery shopping in America. This book is a mix of reporting, ranting, and social commentary through the lens of your local supermarket. It'll change the way you shop for food.
4. What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories by Laura Shapiro (July 2017)
This book follows the lives of six prominent women — Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Gurley Brown, Eva Braun, Barbara Pym, Rosa Lewis, Dorothy Wordsworth — and the food that tells their unique stories. Cooking and food is too often overlooked in biographies (unless it's a chef or food writer of some kind), so this unique perspective is very compelling. Did you know that Roosevelt was known for serving the worst food at the White House? I didn't.
5. Wine. All the Time. by Marissa A. Ross (June 2017)
Marissa Ross is the wine editor at Bon Appétit, but I first learned about her through Instagram. She's hilarious and passionate and she makes learning about wine seem fun, instead of the stuffy vibe you get from most wine writers. If you've ever been curious about learning about wine, but don't feel like tackling something like, uh, The Wine Bible, start with this book instead.
Are there any nonfiction food books that you've enjoyed reading this year? Let us know in the comments!