Surely your summer reading list is well underway, but the team at Food Equality Initiative thought we would share some of our favorite books about food (or at least they have a food item in the title)! We have a mixture of fiction and nonfiction book recommendations for you to browse through. Hopefully you find something that catches your eye and takes you to the library to learn more. 

Send us your recommendations too! We are a team of hungry readers and would love to hear what you are reading. 

Summaries provided by

FEI's summer reading list.

AMELIA RICHARD, Marketing & Creative Director

Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto
by Aaron Franklin, Jordan Mackay

“When Aaron Franklin and his wife, Stacy, opened up a small barbecue trailer on the side of an Austin, Texas, interstate in 2009, they had no idea what they’d gotten themselves into. Today, Franklin Barbecue has grown into the most popular, critically lauded, and obsessed-over barbecue joint in the country (if not the world). And Franklin is the winner of every major barbecue award there is.”

Amelia says, “I got my husband this book and a smoker/grill for a father’s day gift and he LOVES it. The author is so passionate and nerdy, which makes for a fun and educational read. Plus, I have already gotten an amazing smoked chicken and pork butt out of the deal, so we are both satisfied.”

ANNA STOVER, Teen Advisory Intern

The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd

“Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. Lily escapes to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.” 

Anna says, “I love this book because it is a powerful story of a young girl in South Carolina, trying to learn the truth about the death of her mother. She learns about the importance of honey and what family truly means.”


The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South
by Michael Twitty

“Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who “owns” it is one of the most provocative touchpoints in our ongoing struggles over race. Culinary historian Michael W. Twitty takes listeners to the white-hot center of this fight, tracing the roots of his own family and the charged politics surrounding the origins of soul food. Along the way, he reveals a truth that is more than skin deep – the power of food to bring the kin of the enslaved and their former slaveholders to the table, where they can discover the real America together.” 

Emily says, “The Cooking Gene is a wonderful exploration of the contributions of enslaved Africans to American cuisine. It is the culinary history of my ancestors.”

ERIN MARTINEZ, Director of Operations

The $64 Tomato
by William Alexander 

“Bill Alexander had no idea that his simple dream of having a vegetable garden and small orchard in his backyard would lead him into life-and-death battles with groundhogs, weeds, and weather. Not to mention the vacations that had to be planned around the harvest, the limitations of his own middle-aged body, and the pity of his wife and kids. When Alexander runs (just for fun!) a cost benefit analysis, it comes as quite a shock to learn that it cost him a staggering $64 to grow each one of his beloved Brandywine tomatoes.”

Erin says, “$64 Tomato by William Alexander is a laugh out loud book about gardening. I found it amusing because I could relate to some of his gardening troubles and successes.”


The Omnivore’s Dilemma
by Michael Pollan

“What should we have for dinner? For omnivores like ourselves, this simple question has always posed a dilemma: When you can eat just about anything nature (or the supermarket) has to offer, deciding what you should eat will inevitably stir anxiety, especially when some of the foods offered might shorten your life. Pollan contends that, when it comes to food, doing the right thing often turns out to be the tastiest thing. Beautifully written and thrillingly argued, The Omnivore’s Dilemma promises to change the way we think about the politics and pleasure of eating.”

Indrani says, “It is the only food book I have read. :)” 

KATHY DOWNING, Development Coordinator

The Vegetarian Epicure
by Anna Thomas

“262 recipes that bring vegetarian cooking to new gastronomic heights with talk about good food, the art of making fine breads, and menus designed to make every meal a delight and a celebration of life.”

Kathy says, “To cook, I need an appealing recipe along with inspiration. Almost unbelievably, this book provided both! Thomas’s spicy refried beans recipe is by far the tastiest take on refried beans I’ve ever tried! While my beans simmered and the aromas of garlic and cloves filled my kitchen, I would thumb through the pages, thinking about what I could make next. The delicate illustrations by Julie Maas add to the overall joyfulness of this cookbook! 5 stars!”

KEN JOHNSON, Digital Marketing Manager

Don’t Eat This Book
by Morgan Spurlock

“For thirty days, Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald’s as part of an investigation into the effects of fast food on American health. The resulting documentary earned him an Academy Award nomination and broke box-office records worldwide. But there’s more to the story. In Don’t Eat This Book, Spurlock examines everything from school lunch programs and the marketing of fast food to the decline of physical education. He looks at why fast food is so tasty, cheap, and ultimately seductive.”

Ken says, “The author is the star of the CLASSIC food documentary/movie ‘Supersize ME’ which is one of my favs, and this documents it as well.” 

SOFIA GILLESPIE, Education Coordinator

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
by Fannie Flagg

“It’s first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women-of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth. They, back in the thirties, ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.”

Sofia says, “This story makes me cry every time. It is all about friendship and loss in the South, with issues of race relations, sexuality, and aging with a little bit of murder thrown in. It is a great book that gets you thinking and feeling feelings.”

Similar Posts