Although there’s no particular season that’s better for reading than another per se, summer travels oftentimes allow more time and space to focus on a good book.
There is plenty of enjoyable food and travel literature to take on the road this summer (or fall, winter, and spring, for that matter). Whether you’re spread out on a beach, sitting by the camp fire, or killing time while your electronics are powered down during takeoff, these reads alone are inspiring escapes.
Not hitting the road this summer? Well, that’s an even better reason to sit down with these picks:
Lucky Peach, Issue 7: "The Travel Issue"
The latest copy of chef David Chang’s food magazine is hot off the press. Just in time for summer, it’s "travel" themed, with tips, essays, and musings from writers like Peter Meehan and Anthony Bourdain, as well as sketches from artists including Jason Polan and Eleanor Davis. The publication’s illustrations are actually feasts for the eyes. Don’t miss WNYC’s Joy Y. Wang’s essay (if only for the title), "We Are the World, We Are the Curry."
Long Ago in France: The Years in Dijon by M.F.K. Fisher
Although Paris might be the restaurant capital of France, many of the first American writers to begin writing about the country’s culinary offerings were inspired by smaller cities. M.F.K. Fisher is a perfect example; Dijon was her first stop. This short memoir recounts her 1928 arrival in France with her newlywed husband. In her own eloquent style, she describes the bountiful markets and quotidian habits of this small French city that give it its gastronomic reputation (there’s way more than mustard, trust me).
Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg
We're hardly the first to recommend Greenberg’s Four Fish; it is a James Beard Award recipient, a New York Times best-seller, and a New York Times "Notable Book" in 2010 — and with good reason. In addition taking us on a global culinary journey to explore humanity’s fish affinity, Greenberg deconstructs worldwide fishing practices to reveal our planet’s current fishing crisis. For what the book lacks in stimulating our appetites, it makes up for in thoughtfully informing our important consumer decisions.
Lonely Planet’s A Moveable Feast: Life-Changing Food Adventures Around the World
We would have preferred a different title instead of a somewhat inaccurate rehashing of a Hemingway memoir. All the same, Lonely Planet’s collection of food-related essays is a delightful "38-course feast of true tales set around the world." Writers include food and travel writing heavyweights like Andrew Zimmern, Mark Kulanskey, and David Lebovitz, who recount their food-centered explorations in spots ranging from the island of Fais (yeah, we had to look it up on a map) to Morocco, as well as the American Midwest. Although this collection is still on our list, the piece entitled "Propane and Hot Sauce" is our choice for the best food and travel title.