100 books like Hungry City

By Carolyn Steel,

Here are 100 books that Hungry City fans have personally recommended if you like Hungry City. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Oxford Companion to Food

Jenny Linford Author Of The Missing Ingredient: The Curious Role of Time in Food and Flavour

From my list on that help us explore the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a food writer who has long been interested in seeing food in its cultural, historical, and social context. Food is too often put in a neat little box, whereas actually it offers a fascinating prism through which to explore the world. Researching and writing The Missing Ingredient – in which I explore the role of time as the universal, invisible ‘ingredient’ in the food we grow, make, and cook brought this home to me.

Jenny's book list on that help us explore the world

Jenny Linford Why did Jenny love this book?

With entries on foods from Aardvark to Zucchini, this wonderful, wide-ranging reference book has a place of honour by my desk. The idea of a global guide to foodstuffs was conceived of by Alan Davidson in 1976 – before the digital age – and first published in 1999. Davidson, who edited it, brought his intellectual curiosity, knowledge, and humour to the project. The result is a seminal reference book which instead of being dull or stodgy is lively, engaging, and interesting. A book that I never tire of using, as always come across something that catches my attention in the most beguiling way.

By Alan Davidson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Oxford Companion to Food as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

the best food reference work ever to appear in the English language ... read it and be dazzled'
Bee Wilson, New Statesman

First published in 1999, the ground-breaking Oxford Companion to Food was an immediate success and won prizes and accolades around the world. Its blend of serious food history, culinary expertise, and entertaining serendipity, was and remains unique.

Interest in food, cooking, and the culture surrounding food has grown enormously in the intervening period, as has the study of food and food history. University departments, international societies, and academic journals have sprung up dedicated to exploring the meaning of…


Book cover of On Food and Cooking

Jenny Linford Author Of The Missing Ingredient: The Curious Role of Time in Food and Flavour

From my list on that help us explore the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a food writer who has long been interested in seeing food in its cultural, historical, and social context. Food is too often put in a neat little box, whereas actually it offers a fascinating prism through which to explore the world. Researching and writing The Missing Ingredient – in which I explore the role of time as the universal, invisible ‘ingredient’ in the food we grow, make, and cook brought this home to me.

Jenny's book list on that help us explore the world

Jenny Linford Why did Jenny love this book?

Truly a remarkable book, this seminal work has been – and continues to be - profoundly influential in shaping our understanding of food. The book’s subtitle – An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture – expresses its huge breadth Writing with great clarity and concision, McGee shares the history of foods – such as cheese, chocolate, grains, sugar – and explains the science of how humans use, cook and preserve them. If you’re at all interested in understanding food better, then this is the book for you.

By Harold McGee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Food and Cooking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An updated twentieth-anniversary edition of the classic culinary reference features ninety percent new material and provides a wealth of kitchen tips, food-preparation techniques, folklore, literary anecdotes, and health information, in a volume that features particular coverage of trends from the p


Book cover of Much Depends on Dinner

Jenny Linford Author Of The Missing Ingredient: The Curious Role of Time in Food and Flavour

From my list on that help us explore the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a food writer who has long been interested in seeing food in its cultural, historical, and social context. Food is too often put in a neat little box, whereas actually it offers a fascinating prism through which to explore the world. Researching and writing The Missing Ingredient – in which I explore the role of time as the universal, invisible ‘ingredient’ in the food we grow, make, and cook brought this home to me.

Jenny's book list on that help us explore the world

Jenny Linford Why did Jenny love this book?

This wonderful, engaging book will change the way you think about food. Margaret Visser unpicks an “ordinary meal” in North America, digging beneath the surface of everyday ingredients such as butter, lettuce and chicken to reveal fascinating stories. Visser – who writes with a shrewd and perceptive intelligence - weaves together history, science and social observation to great effect. The ‘ordinary’ meal proves to be no such thing.

By Margaret Visser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Much Depends on Dinner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An excursion into the origins and background of an ordinary dinner: corn on the cob, chicken with rice, lettuce salad and ice-cream. Tracing the historical, cultural, agricultural and social strands that run through their history, the author presents the reader with an "anthropology of everyday life". This book was the winner of the 1990 Glenfiddich Award for the Food Book of the Year. The author also wrote "The Rituals of Dinner".


Book cover of The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy

Jenny Linford Author Of The Missing Ingredient: The Curious Role of Time in Food and Flavour

From my list on that help us explore the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a food writer who has long been interested in seeing food in its cultural, historical, and social context. Food is too often put in a neat little box, whereas actually it offers a fascinating prism through which to explore the world. Researching and writing The Missing Ingredient – in which I explore the role of time as the universal, invisible ‘ingredient’ in the food we grow, make, and cook brought this home to me.

Jenny's book list on that help us explore the world

Jenny Linford Why did Jenny love this book?

First published in 1747, this cookbook was a bestseller of its day. One of the things I love about it is the way that Hannah Glasse’s forthright voice leaps off the page across the centuries. Aimed at servants, she begins by explaining that she has not written ‘in the high, polite stile’, but instead written it clearly in terms that can be easily understood by her audience. She is scathing about the extravagant tricks that fashionable French cooks resort to: ‘I have heard of a cook that used six pounds of butter to fry twelve eggs, when everybody knows, that understands cooking, that half a pound is full enough, or more than need be used. But then it would not be French.’ In its approach to ingredients, its language, its recipes, this is a wonderful glimpse into the past.

By Hannah Glasse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first American edition of this staple of the American household during the Revolutionary War. How to market. How to roast and broil and fry. Gravies, sauces, hashes, fricassees, ragouts.


Book cover of Welsh Food Stories

Helen Fulton Author Of The Cambridge History of Welsh Literature

From my list on Wales and Welsh culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was lucky enough to be introduced to medieval Welsh literature when I was an undergraduate, and the Welsh language mesmerised me. It is so unlike any other language that I had come across and translating texts from Welsh into English was as absorbing as code-cracking. My apprenticeship as a scholar was long and hard and I soon realised that my particular contribution was to make Welsh literature accessible to non-Welsh speakers, not simply through translations, but by aligning the Welsh tradition with the wider literary cultures of Europe. I want Wales and its two literatures to take their place as two of the great literatures of Europe.

Helen's book list on Wales and Welsh culture

Helen Fulton Why did Helen love this book?

I’m not particularly a foodie, but this book was an eye-opener.

Carwyn Graves takes us on a historical and topographical journey around Wales uncovering one of its best-kept secrets, its traditional and inventive cuisine. I discovered that there is definitely more to Welsh cooking than the famous Welsh rarebit or even the ubiquitous Welsh cakes (enjoyable though they are).

The book is structured around key foods from the Welsh menu, including Bara/Bread, Caws/Cheese, and Cig Oen/Lamb. The emphasis is on fresh natural foods, though the final chapter on Sglodion/Chips rather gives the game away.

By Carwyn Graves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Welsh Food Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welsh Food Stories explores more than two thousand years of history to discover the rich but forgotten heritage of Welsh foods - from oysters to cider, salted butter to salt-marsh lamb. Despite centuries of industry, ancient traditions have survived in pockets across the country among farmers, bakers, fisherfolk, brewers and growers who are taking Welsh food back to its roots, and trailblazing truly sustainable foods as they do so.

In this important book, author Carwyn Graves travels Wales to uncover the country's traditional foods and meet the people making them today. There are the owners of a local Carmarthenshire chip…


Book cover of The Global Food Economy: The Battle for the Future of Farming

Benjamin Selwyn Author Of The Struggle for Development

From my list on the world on international development.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a political economist interested in development which I’ve been studying, researching, and writing about since my undergraduate days in the early 1990s.

Benjamin's book list on the world on international development

Benjamin Selwyn Why did Benjamin love this book?

This short (190-page) book shows how the global food system is intrinsically connected to world region’s diverse developmental trajectories, covering the colonial era to the green revolution to the contemporary corporate-dominated food system.

Historically, agriculture has been subordinated ever more tightly to capitalist imperatives of profit – based upon increased, faster, and cheaper production. Agriculture has been transformed from a ‘closed loop system’, where soil fertility was renewed based upon locally-available resources (such as animal manure), to a through-flow system dependent upon external inputs.

This shift raised yields for a while, but at the cost of soil exhaustion and the accumulation of power and resources in the hands of agrochemical companies at the expense of the small farmer sector.

Weis suggests that we need to consider new ways of producing our food, which would also establish new forms of world development. 

By Tony Weis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Global Food Economy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Global Food Economy examines the human and ecological cost of what we eat.

The current food economy is characterized by immense contradictions. Surplus 'food mountains', bountiful supermarkets, and rising levels of obesity stand in stark contrast to widespread hunger and malnutrition. Transnational companies dominate the market in food and benefit from subsidies, whilst farmers in developing countries remain impoverished. Food miles, mounting toxicity and the 'ecological hoofprint' of livestock mean that the global food economy rests on increasingly shaky environmental foundations.

This book looks at how such a system came about, and how it is being enforced by the…


Book cover of The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It

Roger RB Leakey Author Of Living with the Trees of Life: Towards the Transformation of Tropical Agriculture

From my list on making a healthier, fairer, and better planet.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a research scientist who has worked on the interface of many biological, environmental, social, and economic disciplines seeking more sustainable and yet productive forms of agriculture in the tropics and subtropics. With numerous colleagues, I've tried to find ways to right many of the wrongs that have affected the critical food and non-food needs of the world’s poorest and marginalized farmers. This also has the potential to heal much of the environmental degradation and social deprivation in our troubled and dysfunctional world. Along the way, I've had an unusual and privileged research career travelling in remote corners of the world and meeting the people most in need of help from international decision makers.

Roger's book list on making a healthier, fairer, and better planet

Roger RB Leakey Why did Roger love this book?

This ‘wake-up’ call to society about the food crisis already affecting one billion people provides both information and guidance about what needs to be done to avert disaster.

It is also full of important philosophy, such as “There can be no peace until people have enough to eat.” The book goes on to offer important insights into what needs to be done for humanity to live sustainably.

The task is enormous, but there is hope if we wake from our slumbers. 

By Julian Cribb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Coming Famine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In "The Coming Famine", Julian Cribb lays out a vivid picture of impending planetary crisis - a global food shortage that threatens to hit by mid-century - that would dwarf any in our previous experience. Cribb's comprehensive assessment describes a dangerous confluence of shortages - of water, land, energy, technology, and knowledge - combined with the increased demand created by population and economic growth. Writing in brisk, accessible prose, Cribb explains how the food system interacts with the environment and with armed conflict, poverty, and other societal factors. He shows how high food prices and regional shortages are already sending…


Book cover of The Ninth Revolution: Transforming Food Systems For Good

Roger RB Leakey Author Of Living with the Trees of Life: Towards the Transformation of Tropical Agriculture

From my list on making a healthier, fairer, and better planet.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a research scientist who has worked on the interface of many biological, environmental, social, and economic disciplines seeking more sustainable and yet productive forms of agriculture in the tropics and subtropics. With numerous colleagues, I've tried to find ways to right many of the wrongs that have affected the critical food and non-food needs of the world’s poorest and marginalized farmers. This also has the potential to heal much of the environmental degradation and social deprivation in our troubled and dysfunctional world. Along the way, I've had an unusual and privileged research career travelling in remote corners of the world and meeting the people most in need of help from international decision makers.

Roger's book list on making a healthier, fairer, and better planet

Roger RB Leakey Why did Roger love this book?

The crux of this book – ‘the need of the moment’ – focuses on the critical role of agrobiodiversity.

It recognizes that the current tendency to focus on only 30 out of 30,000 edible plant species has ignored many wonderful and locally popular foods that are also crucial for healthy and productive farming systems.

The book illustrates a ‘light bulb’ moment for the future of agriculture with the recognition of the numerous untapped benefits of edible plant species that have been overlooked by modern science.

By Sayed Nader Azam-ali,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ninth Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We are at a critical point in human history and that of the planet. In this book, a world leader in agricultural research, Professor Sayed Azam-Ali, proposes a radical transformation of our agrifood system. He argues that agriculture must be understood as part of global biodiversity and that food systems have cultural, nutritional, and social values beyond market price alone. He describes the perilous risks of relying on just four staple crops for most of our food and the consequences of our current agrifood model on human and planetary health.In plain language for the wider public, students, researchers, and policy…


Book cover of The End of Food

Lewis H. Ziska Author Of Greenhouse Planet: How Rising CO2 Changes Plants and Life as We Know It

From my list on climate and plants, from forests to farms.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated with plants. Their shapes, their colors, their beauty, even the plants that are known to be harmful to humans (poison ivy, puncture vine) had appeal to me. Plants are, by far, the most prolific, the biggest, the oldest, the most complex of organisms. And yet, as a pre-med student, classes on botany were never recommended. Sad. These books delve into the complexity, the wonder of plants, and how they interact with humans. From the sheer poetic pronouncements of Michael Pollan to the straightforward prose of Richard Manning, here is a chance to see the breadth and depth; our rewards and struggles with the plant kingdom.  

Lewis' book list on climate and plants, from forests to farms

Lewis H. Ziska Why did Lewis love this book?

If you were ever curious about where your food comes from, the strain and effort and environmental costs associated with it, boy is this the book for you! I learned so, so much from reading this, and I assign chapters to my class every year. It is thoroughly researched, and addresses all the vulnerable points of the current food system—especially in industrial countries. I guarantee you will have a different perspective of where your food comes from after reading this book. It is nothing less than a call to change the current food system if we are to deal with climatic uncertainty.

By Paul Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The End of Food as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The emergence of large-scale food production gave us unprecedented abundance - but at a steep and ultimately unsustainable price. Relentless cost-cutting has made our food systems vulnerable to contamination and disease. More than a billion people are overweight or obese, yet roughly the same number are still malnourished. Over-crowded countries like China are already planning for tightened global food supplies. As the world veers back to a time of hunger and uncertainty, Paul Roberts explores the vulnerable miracle of our modern food economy and pinpoints the decisions we must make to avoid the coming meltdown.


Book cover of Foodtopia: Communities in Pursuit of Peace, Love, & Homegrown Food

A. Whitney Sanford Author Of Living Sustainably: What Intentional Communities Can Teach Us about Democracy, Simplicity, and Nonviolence

From my list on the industrialization of and fight for the future of food.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated by the intersection of food, sustainable agriculture, and culture when I moved to Iowa. I had long been an environmentalist, but moving to the land of big corn forced me to rethink food production. I wrote a book that explored agricultural narratives in India (Growing Stores from India) and developed a class on Religion and Food. I then became curious about how people and communities translate their values of sustainability into practice. For example, how do you decide what to eat, and who gets to decide? These books helped me think about links between food, sustainability, and culture and the power to decide what to eat.

A. Whitney's book list on the industrialization of and fight for the future of food

A. Whitney Sanford Why did A. Whitney love this book?

Foodtopia tells us about people and communities who taking control of their own food production.

Throughout US history, many groups have sought alternatives to the dominant food culture, including Thgoreau, the Nearings, and, more recently, millennials. While many of us would like to have food alternatives, it can be difficult to figure out how to do this.

Kelley’s book provides details and descriptions of how these back to the land movements worked against the grain and the choices they made in doing so. These stories and examples help us see that there are alternatives to existing food systems, then and now. 

By Margot Anne Kelley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Foodtopia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Insightful...empathetic...a thoughtful consideration of a topic that will have a substantial impact on our future."-Booklist

Readable Feast, 2022 Book Award Finalist

Ever wonder if there's a better way to live, work, and eat? You're not alone. Here is the story of five back-to-the-land movements, from 1840 to present day, when large numbers of utopian-minded people in the United States took action to establish small-scale farming as an alternative to mainstream agriculture. Then and now, it's the story of people striving to live freely and fight injustice, to make the food on their table a little healthier, and to leave the…


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