Tuesday, September 21, 2010

BookClubSandwich: Picking a New Book

It's time again! Time for another round of BookClubSandwich, an online discussion group for foodies and wannabes. Kim and I have put together a pool of five books, and I've already set up a poll on the right-hand side of the screen where you may vote for up to two choices you're interested in reading. Our first discussion, Coop, was in August, so we'll likely shoot for a discussion date in or around November. We have yet to decide the final discussion date.

Please take the time to read through the publisher blurbs below, and let us know which books you're most interested in reading! Keep in mind, not all of these books are published in paperback just yet, so if you need to take that into consideration when voting, please do. I've noted the hardcover releases, though they may emerge in paperback before discussion time.

America the Edible: Why We Eat, What We Eat, Where We Eat by Adam Richman (hardcover) - In America the Edible, Travel Channel host Adam Richman tackles the ins and outs of American cuisine, demonstrating his own unique brand of culinary anthropology. Believing that regional cuisine reveals far more than just our taste for chicken fried steak or 3-way chili, Richman explores the ethnic, economic, and cultural factors that shape the way we eat—and how food, in turn, reflects who we are as a nation. Richman uses his signature wit and casual charm to take youon a tour around the country,explaining such curiosities as why bagels are shaped like circles, why fried chicken is so popular in the South, and how some of the most iconic American food—hot dogs, fries, and soda—are not really American at all. Writing with passion, curiosity, and a desire to share his knowledge, he includes recipes, secret addresses for fun and tasty finds, and tips on how to eat like a local from coast to coast.

Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness by Lisa Hamilton - A century of industrialization has left the food system riddled with problems, yet for solutions people look to nutritionists and government agencies, scientists and chefs. Hamilton asks: Why not look to the people who grow the food?

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair - Upton Sinclair's The Jungle follows the fortunes of Jurgis Rudkus, an immigrant who finds in the stockyards of turn-of-the-century Chicago a ruthless system that degrades and impoverishes him, and an industry whose filthy practices contaminate the meat it processes. From the stench of the killing-beds to the horrors of the fertilizer-works, the appalling conditions in which Jurgis works are described in intense detail by an author bent on social reform. So powerful was the book's message that it caught the eye of President Theodore Roosevelt and led to changes to the food hygiene laws.

Medium Raw: A Blood Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain (hardcover) - In the ten years since his classic Kitchen Confidential first alerted us to the idiosyncrasies and lurking perils of eating out, from Monday fish to the breadbasket conspiracy, much has changed for the subculture of chefs and cooks, for the restaurant business — and for Anthony Bourdain.
Medium Raw explores these changes, moving back and forth from the author's bad old days to the present. Tracking his own strange and unexpected voyage from journeyman cook to globe-traveling professional eater and drinker, and even to fatherhood, Bourdain takes no prisoners as he dissects what he's seen, pausing along the way for a series of confessions, rants, investigations, and interrogations of some of the most controversial figures in food.

The United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution by David Kamp - One day we woke up and realized that our macaroni had become pasta, that our Wonder Bread had been replaced by organic whole wheat, that sushi was fast food, and that our tomatoes were heirlooms. How did all this happen, and who made it happen? The United States of Arugula is the rollicking, revealing chronicle of how gourmet eating in America went from obscure to pervasive, thanks to the contributions of some outsized, opinionated iconoclasts who couldn't abide the status quo.


  1. I think my pick is either for the Adam Richman book or Deeply Rooted. This will be my first time participating, so I'm excited!

  2. Yikes. The Jungle being associated with food kind of scares me. I am curious to see what gets picked.

  3. The Jungle or the United States of Arugula.

  4. America the Edible looks awesome! And I don't even consider myself a foodie. :))

  5. Lu, it'll be great to have you!!! I'm really excited about this next round. Had a blast with Coop even though I got a little bogged down toward the end.

    Nicole, I'm totally rooting for The Jungle, and not just because it's free on my Nook. lol I've wanted to read it for a long time now. It's so timely to our situation today since it deals with the meat packing industry.

    Sara, good choices. They both sound great. I'm certain I'll read all of these books at some point, no matter what gets chosen for discussion. Medium Raw just came in on hold for me at the library yesterday.

    Christina, doesn't it? I hadn't heard of that one until Kim proposed it. Now it's at the tippy top of my wishlist.

  6. My personal choice would tend to be Sinclair's The Jungle. On a side note, perhaps consider Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat by Hal Herzog for a future selection for the Book Club Sandwich? Interesting cultural study on our complicated relationship with animals.

  7. Thanks for your suggestion, Paul! I'm not familiar with Some We Love, Hate, Eat. Definitely sounds like a contender for a future BookClubSandwich pick.

  8. Hmmm...this is going to be a toughy!! These all sound good :D At least I'm getting lots of good book suggestions here!!

  9. I vote for The Jungle !

  10. My pick is definitely the one by Anthony Bourdain!

  11. All the books sound so good! I'm thinking about either Adam Richman or The Jungle.


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