100 books like The Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson,

Here are 100 books that The Oxford Companion to Food fans have personally recommended if you like The Oxford Companion to Food. 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 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 Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives

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?

Such an important, relevant, and well-written book. Carolyn Steel traces the journey food takes to feed our cities – from the land where it is grown to the waste dumps, where its decay causes environmental degradation. It is a book that looks forward as well as to the past. Hungry City ends with a rallying cry to create a better food system – better for us, for society, for the planet. ‘How food shapes our lives in our future is up to us,’ writes Steel.

By Carolyn Steel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*According to the Trussell Trust, food bank use between April and Sept 2018 was up 13% on the same period in 2017.*

*Every year in the UK 18 million tonnes of food end up in landfill.*

Why is this the case and what can we do about it?

The relationship between food and cities is fundamental to our everyday lives. Food shapes cities and through them it moulds us - along with the countryside that feeds us. Yet few of us are conscious of the process and we rarely stop to wonder how food reaches our plates.

Hungry City examines…


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 Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History

Troy Bickham Author Of Eating the Empire: Food and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain

From my list on food and empires in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of History at Texas A&M University and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.  I teach and research broadly in the histories of Britain and its empire, North America, and the Atlantic world. I am the author of four books, including Making Headlines: The American Revolution as Seen through the British Press and The Weight of Vengeance: The United States, the British Empire, and the War of 1812. I am especially fascinated with how imperialism shape colonizers’ cultures.

Troy's book list on food and empires in history

Troy Bickham Why did Troy love this book?

I love this book primarily for the ambitiousness of its breadth. It begins thousands of years ago with the role of early grain domestication in empire-building and stretches to the roles of modern cuisines in global trade, industry, and capitalism. Although a whirlwind of peoples and places from across human history, this beautifully written and illustrated book is easy for any reader interested in the subject to digest. 

By Rachel Laudan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rachel Laudan tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of the world's great cuisines from the mastery of grain cooking some twenty thousand years ago, to the present in this superbly researched book.

Probing beneath the apparent confusion of dozens of cuisines to reveal the underlying simplicity of the culinary family tree, she shows how periodic seismic shifts in culinary philosophy" beliefs about health, the economy, politics, society, and the gods prompted the construction of new cuisines, a handful of which, chosen as the cuisines of empires, came to dominate the globe.

Cuisine and Empire shows how merchants,…


Book cover of The Metamorphosis of Greek Cuisine: An Ethnography of Deli Foods, Restaurant Smells and Foodways of Crisis

David E. Sutton Author Of Bigger Fish to Fry: A Theory of Cooking as Risk, with Greek Examples

From my list on scholarly reads about cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in food, even as young as 3 years old I remember wanting to taste everything, and I found the process of cooking fascinating. But I really got interested in food as a topic for research during my time studying Greek culture for my PhD thesis. People on the island of Kalymnos, where I’ve conducted research for 30 years, made a strong connection between food and memory, but it was a connection that few scholars have written about until recently. So I’ve been excited to participate in a new field reflected by all of these books, and hope you will be as well.

David's book list on scholarly reads about cooking

David E. Sutton Why did David love this book?

This book tells the story of how people use food to reimagine identities in the midst of an economic and social crisis.

It beautifully describes the setting of restaurants and delicatessans in Athens, Greece, and how people’s association with the source of their food, the countryside, became a touchstone for reinventing Greekness. An account that will challenge stereotypes and leave you with a new perspective on “Greek cuisine.”

By Nafsika Papacharalampous,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is an ethnography of the metamorphosis of rural foods and traditional dishes and of the making of cuisine and identity in contemporary Athens.

In the wake of the financial crisis in Athens in the mid-2015s, forgotten rural foods of the past are transformed into luxurious artisanal foods, while traditional dishes appear reinvented in fine-dining restaurants, after decades of darkness. How, and why is this all happening in a city of poverty, hardship and economic crisis? Through sensory descriptions and thick ethnographic material, it follows the Athenian affluent middle class in upscale delis and goes inside fine-dining restaurant kitchens,…


Book cover of Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes, Through Darkness and Light

Zuza Zak Author Of Amber & Rye: A Baltic Food Journey: Estonia - Latvia - Lithuania

From my list on travelling through food.

Why am I passionate about this?

Some people travel through food–they seek out authentic foods when they are travelling, visit certain places just to eat their specialties, and travel from their own kitchens when they are at home. This book list is for them. The same has always been the case with me, and I have continued this habit of exploring culture through food in the writing of my own cookbooks. Amber & Rye was the book for which I physically travelled the most, and my partner did all the travel photography too, so it was a family experience.

Zuza's book list on travelling through food

Zuza Zak Why did Zuza love this book?

This is a book you’ll want to go to bed with again and again. It combines travel and food in the most evocative, interesting of ways.

In this book, Eden travels from pre-war Odesa to Istanbul and on to Trabzon, covering the little-known history of the fascinating Black Sea region along the way. You’ll want to cook all the recipes if only to add that extra dimension to your reading experience. 

By Caroline Eden,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Black Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Art of Eating Prize 2020

Winner of the Guild of Food Writers' Best Food Book Award 2019

Winner of the Edward Stanford Travel Food and Drink Book Award 2019

Winner of the John Avery Award at the Andre Simon Food and Drink Book Awards for 2018

Shortlisted for the James Beard International Cookbook Award

'The next best thing to actually travelling with Caroline Eden - a warm, erudite and greedy guide - is to read her. This is my kind of book.' - Diana Henry

'A wonderfully inspiring book about a magical part of the world' -…


Book cover of Women's Food Matters: Stirring the Pot

David E. Sutton Author Of Bigger Fish to Fry: A Theory of Cooking as Risk, with Greek Examples

From my list on scholarly reads about cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in food, even as young as 3 years old I remember wanting to taste everything, and I found the process of cooking fascinating. But I really got interested in food as a topic for research during my time studying Greek culture for my PhD thesis. People on the island of Kalymnos, where I’ve conducted research for 30 years, made a strong connection between food and memory, but it was a connection that few scholars have written about until recently. So I’ve been excited to participate in a new field reflected by all of these books, and hope you will be as well.

David's book list on scholarly reads about cooking

David E. Sutton Why did David love this book?

This is the first book of its kind to combine a focus on women’s food knowledge from growing and harvesting to cooking.

The author draws from a wide array of sources to provide a rare cross-cultural and historical perspective on women’s food practices and their significance to “sexual politics.” Written in accessible and lively prose that is both informative and a pleasure to read.

By Vicki A. Swinbank,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women's Food Matters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Women have always been inextricably linked to food, especially in its production and preparation. This link, which applies cross-culturally, has seldom been fully acknowledged or celebrated. The role of women in this is usually taken for granted and therefore often rendered unimportant or invisible. This book presents a wide-ranging, interdiscplinary and comprehensive feminist analysis of women's central role in many aspects of the world's food systems and cultures. This central role is examined through a range of lenses, namely cross-cultural, intergenerational, and socially diverse.


Book cover of Red Sands: Reportage and Recipes Through Central Asia, from Hinterland to Heartland

Sophie Ibbotson Author Of Uzbekistan

From my list on to discover the Silk Road.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I first visited Central Asia in 2008, little did I know that it would become the focus of my life and work. I now advise the World Bank and national governments on economic development, with a particular focus on tourism, and I’m the Chairman of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. I am Uzbekistan’s Ambassador for Tourism, a co-founder of the Silk Road Literary Festival, and I’ve written and updated guidebooks to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and the Silk Road.

Sophie's book list on to discover the Silk Road

Sophie Ibbotson Why did Sophie love this book?

Food is without doubt one of the most insightful windows into any culture. The food we eat is a mirror of who we are and where we come from, a strong trigger for memory, and cooking together or sharing a meal creates an unusually strong bond between people who were previously strangers. In Red Sands, Caroline Eden combines reportage, photography, and recipes to build a rich picture of Central Asia, introducing people and places foreigners would never normally encounter. Her stories are diverse, evocative, and thought-provoking, but they have one thing in common: they make you hungry for adventure and to taste the many ingredients and dishes she describes.

By Caroline Eden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Andre Simon Food Book Award 2020

"Caroline Eden is an extraordinarily creative and gifted writer. Red Sands captures the sights, tastes and feel of Central Asia so well that when reading this book I was sometimes convinced I was there in person. A wonderful book from start to finish." Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads\

"Caroline Eden, whose book Black Sea was showered with awards, is on the road again, this time travelling through the heart of Asia. It's not your usual cookbook, it's more a travel book with recipes, the recipes acting as postcards which…


Book cover of Making Modern Meals: How Americans Cook Today

David E. Sutton Author Of Bigger Fish to Fry: A Theory of Cooking as Risk, with Greek Examples

From my list on scholarly reads about cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in food, even as young as 3 years old I remember wanting to taste everything, and I found the process of cooking fascinating. But I really got interested in food as a topic for research during my time studying Greek culture for my PhD thesis. People on the island of Kalymnos, where I’ve conducted research for 30 years, made a strong connection between food and memory, but it was a connection that few scholars have written about until recently. So I’ve been excited to participate in a new field reflected by all of these books, and hope you will be as well.

David's book list on scholarly reads about cooking

David E. Sutton Why did David love this book?

This book really debunks many of the myths about how and whether Americans cook today.

I loved the way that the author took us  into the thoughts and practices of contemporary home cooks going about their daily cooking. I also found fascinating the comparison and contrast with those who have taken up artisanal production of sourdough bread and other skilled food products.

By Amy B. Trubek,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Home cooking is crucial to our lives but it is not necessary to our survival. Over the past century, it has become an everyday choice even though it is no longer an everyday chore. By looking closely at the stories and practices of American home cooks-witnessing them in the kitchen and at the table-Amy B. Trubek reveals our episodic but also engaged relationship to making meals. Making Modern Meals explores the state of American cooking across all its varied practices, whether cooking is considered a chore, a craft, or a creative process. Trubek challenges current assumptions about who cooks, who…


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