5 great reads if you like Food or Coffee!


[1] Food & Travel Summer edition

Great visuals and inspiring recipes.  I have been reading it all summer and thumb through it occasionally for more inspiration.  I don't buy a lot of magazines but this has been a game changer for me.  You'll see some of the recipes here.


[2] My Berlin Kitchen (Weiss) 

I picked this up at the Food Bloggers Conference in London.  It's a story of how Luisa, blogger the Wednesday Chef, leaves her life in New York to forge a new life in Berlin.  It's a personal chronical interspersed with a collection of recipes.  Touted the "new Julie & Julia".


[3] The Virtues of the Table (Baggini) 

Catherine Cleary lead a panel discussion with Catherine Fulvio & Julian Baggini during the Dublin Literary Festival, where I learned of the book. Julian is a philosopher focused on food.  It challenges our understanding of labels on food.  Do ethical labels even mean anything?

In the book he talks about the ‘holy trinity’ of of food right now S/O/L - the idea of seasonal, organic, and local.  The meaning behind the terms and why we all strive to eat this way.  We touched on the idea of food commodities and supply chains, and how they loosely resemble old-times slavery.

Is local definitely better? Is it more sustainable, less impact on the earth? Does it necessarily taste better? Trust me, we can’t grow coffee here in Ireland, not well. But the book is has poignant descriptors of food, almost every other sentence is a quote, it’s a book of quotes.


[4] The Coffee Paradox (Daviron & Ponte)

is an in-depth and well-researched analysis of coffee from farm to consumer. If you are looking for a book to engage you in a critical analysis of that brown stuff that 2.25 billion cups are filled with each day (as per 1999).  It will give you an understanding of global value chains that you never wanted, but also will explain the inequalities in the coffee industry and challenge you to question what it is you are consuming.  Also, touches on the ever-elusive quality topic.  I will be sharing a few things I have understood through my reading and expert ‘coffee-drinking’, while working in speciality coffee.


[5] Swindled - a book on the history of food adulteration (Wilson) 

It talks about history of food fraud and labelling, including roasting fake beans for coffee and manufacturing fake tea with elder and sloe leaves. The book traces fraud back to the rapid urbanisation of Britain, creating distance between food producers and consumers.  Essentially, what we know as lengthening the supply chain.

"Adulteration thrives when trade operates in large and impersonal chains. In a rural setting, swindling is a risky business. If you are the village milkman, the chain between you and your customers is very short: you know them all by name because they are your neighbours.  If you start watering down your milk, the chances are the word will soon get out and you will be ostracised"