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January 2016

It’s been a while (like, last summer) since I had read enough (besides the daily swoops through sites like McSweeney’s Internet Tendency) to be able to put together one of these posts. Luckily, hibernation mode is quite conducive to book reading, so I’ve been doing some catching up lately.

This issue is just a win-win. Lucky Peach is my favorite magazine and breakfast is my favorite meal. Throw in some kooky illustrations, a story about Mickey Mouse pancakes, and how people from across all the time zones chow down in the A.M, and you’ll be craving a breakfast burrito (or maybe that’s just me).

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This title piqued my interest because it combined my nerdy, Middlebury-induced interest in Political Science with the food side of things. Unfortunately, this book got really old after a while–I much would have preferred to just read a long newspaper or magazine article. The premise is that for several reasons, Americans waste a lot of food and use too much gasoline. Basically, we think we’re too cool for school.

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I also had high hopes for this book. It was a bit of a mash-up of interviews with cacao producers, allusions to personal heartbreak, historical background, and then tasting notes. The central argument rings loud and clear in the coffee section about the need to preserve and promote the cultivation of different types of beans (or else we’ll all just be drinking dark roast arabica for the rest of our lives, yawn), but felt like a bit of a stretch in some other chapters. An interesting concept to link together such diverse products: bread, wine, beer, chocolate, and octopus. (Yes, octopus.)

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Only a crazy gastronome buys herself a Norton Anthology for Christmas. This is more of a reference book than a book to cruise through, but I am finding myself enjoying it nonetheless. There’s a mixture of poems, memoirs, excerpts from religious texts, as well as some more contemporary pieces by people like Michael Pollan to boot.

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I bought a hardcover version of this book at Omnivore Books in San Francisco a few months ago and have just finally made my way through it. It is a thoroughly well-researched tome from a sociologist who thinks deeply about thing like why we attach certain memories and feelings to tomatoes and apples, but not lettuce. I found myself underlining, annotating, and highlighting like the good old days. And the bibliography is awesome. One of the best books I read in 2015. 

Next up on my list: First Bite by Bee Wilson.

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