The Frontier of Food: Past, Present, Future | Wyatt’s World

The advent of fall also means the arrival of a new crop of cookbooks and while Wyatt’s World will devote due attention to recipes in the coming weeks, for now consider warming up readers with books about food, how food changes, and who creates the change.

  • Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste by Luke Barr (Clarkson Potter: Crown, Oct.). In the fall of 1970, culinary experts M.F.K. Fisher, James Beard, and Julia Child (among others) converged in Provence, where they cooked and argued—and forged the future of how we eat. Fisher’s great-nephew recounts the story of their intersection and debates in this fascinating and deeply engaging work.
  • The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America by Langdon Cook (Ballantine). A mushroom adventure unfolds as Cook tells a riveting and character-rich story of mushroom foragers—people who dig through leaf mold and under fallen branches hunting for what turns out to be fungi gold. His fabulous, gripping, and detailed account ranges from the rough and dangerous to the sublimely delicious.
  • Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture by Dana Goodyear (Riverhead, Nov.). Poet and New Yorker staff writer Goodyear is an insightful, vivid, and smart commentator on food. Here she focuses on the reinvention of food in modern America, exploring the highs, lows, and surprises of cutting-edge foodie culture.
  • Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure by Samira Kawash (Faber & Faber, Oct.). This finely researched cultural history explores the perception of candy from the turn of the century to our present-day obsession with sugar. This book delves into how candy has alternatively been viewed as a source of energy, pleasure, and depravity as well as the ways its creation has moved steadily from the simple to the high-tech.
  • The Whole Fromage: Adventures in the Delectable World of French Cheese by Kathe Lison (Broadway Bks.). What could be better than a culinary expedition fueled by cheese? Lison journeys thousands of miles in France, eating artisan cheese as she goes, in a quest to discover how and why French cheese is made. Her travels are smartly and charmingly told and the details of what she learns (and tastes) are lushly descriptive.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at