Photos: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images; Amazon.com
Looking for last-minute (and we mean seriously last-minute) gift ideas for the book-loving foodie on your Christmas list? Then check out the recommendations from Michael Pollan (above right) and a variety of other high-profile gastronomes of the best books they've discovered this year, courtesy of Grist.
It seems like every year there's that one book that's a must-read for socially conscious foodies everywhere (good luck following the chatter at your next locavore-themed dinner party if you haven't read it). This year the book of the moment is Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food, which details New York Times's writer Paul Greenberg's exploration into how we fish, overfish and/or genetically alter and farm seafood. The book pops up several times on the Grist lists, garnering kudos from Ruth Reichl (above left), former editor-in-chief of Gourmet, Grist's own Tom Philpott, and Politics of the Plate blogger Barry Estabrook.
For those with a taste for the more obscure, consider these weighty stocking-stuffers. Nikki Henderson, executive director of the People's Grocery in Oakland, California, recommends Food Rebellions by Eric Holt-Gimenez and Raj Patel. Based on her recommendation, it doesn't sound exactly like cozying up with Jane Austen, but it might just be perfect for the hardcore activist on your list: "It's not a feel-good narrative read, if that's what you're looking for," Henderson writes. "I needed a book that would give me an in-depth understanding of the 2008 food crisis, globalized food, and why sustainable agriculture can actually feed the world. It might take you a while to work your way through (it's very dense), but it's worth the time!"
And if that's not obscure enough, local farm guru and author Eliot Coleman delves into the archive and hauls out an 18th-century fave: The Practical Kitchen Gardner by Stephen Switzer, first printed in 1727. (The rules for Grist recommendations only asked contributors to limit themselves to books they discovered this year, not books printed in 2010.) Coleman writes that the collection of antique gardening techniques "combine to convince the reader that gardening has been universal since we left Eden and that there is nothing new under the sun."
Surely someone you know would be thrilled with 300-year-old tips on growing cucumbers in March.
Want to give someone you love a cookbook? See our favorites at Slashfood's Cookbook Gift Guide.