Reading about eating

The past year or so, I’ve become interested in the sociology and anthropology around food – what it means to people when they eat, why they eat; and how the food industry controls our preferences and shopping habits.

I’ve read a number of excellent books that have made me see food quite differently. There’s a far longer post I will write on that, but in the meantime here is a list of the books that are changing my mind:

Feeding frenzy book cover

Feeding Frenzy – the geopolitical underpinnings of the global food industry.

First Bite: how we learn to eat – one of the best books I’ve ever read, written to reframe the way we think about healthy food (currently a chore we must bribe and trick ourselves to suffer), with brilliantly told stories about our food likes and dislikes, and how this fits into our wider identity.

Eat Me: A history of cannibalism – what it says on the tin; whether it really is as rare as we think, how many animals indulge, and why the social taboo around it is so strong.

Fat is a Feminist Issue – people gain and keep ‘unwanted’ weight for valid, diverse and sometimes contradictory reasons. I will be thinking about this book for a long time.

Bad Food Britain – made me feel genuinely sad about my school packed lunches, and posits that it’s Britain as a whole that is uninterested in food (not just my younger self).

A couple of novels which nonetheless fit into this category…

The Death of Grass – a scifi novel where the world’s major grains die out, and humans starve. Demonstrates our food chain’s total reliance on a few staple crops.

The Vegetarian – a Korean woman stops eating meat overnight, and ends up in a mental hospital.


If you have any suggestions, please let me know!