At last, you've put on some sunscreen, dipped your toes in the water (or splashed around a bit), dried off, and set up a towel. Or if you're on the porch, you've plopped onto your favorite rocking chair with a cool glass of lemonade and a slice of pie. Seems like the perfect time to settle back and open up a book. Here's what we've been reading over the past year.
Our reading list reflects a growing concern among Americans about the provenance of their food, as evidenced by the numerous ballot initiatives on GMO labeling out there, the continued popularity of farmers' markets and community supported agricultures, and the growth of the organic sector. And especially in light of all the recent food safety issues over pink slime, bacterial contamination, and outright fraud, it's clear that Americans want answers. So there are definitely books on this list that are keeping it real, like Tracie McMillan's page-turner The American Way of Eating, which made the top of our list.
But our list also highlights issues that people may not be familiar with. Take, for example, the banana. Did you know that a fungus threatens its very existence, and that genetic modification may be the only way to save it? Dan Koeppel shows us why in Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World.
Don't worry, though: It's not all doom and gloom. For some lighthearted romance mixed in with a little culinary history, turn to Cook editor Anne Dolce's favorite read of the year, the steamy White Truffles in Winter by N.M. Kelby, which details the love affair that Escoffier had with a couple of busty dames, while weaving in some things about cooking you may not have known.
And of course, we would be remiss if we didn't include a cookbook. We think that the definitive cookbook of the summer has to be The Grilling Book from Bon Appétit magazine. It's the new grilling bible for anyone who's looking to improve their grilling skills or even just lighting a charcoal fire for the first time. Check out the slideshow for the rest of our picks.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman. Additional reporting contributed by Anne Dolce, Cook editor, and Deepak Venkatachalam.