A reader digests – My favourite food reads

  • Rachel Lopez, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Apr 07, 2015 17:42 IST


Being the longterm girlfriend and partner-in-dine to a professional food writer, I’m invariably driven into conversations about food.

Reviews, yes, but also techniques.

Recipes, yes, but also how those recipes came to be.

Organic farming, yes, but also the responsibility of feeding an increasingly hungry planet.

Authenticity, yes, but also how cuisines are in a state of constant evolution.

We’ve griped about the quality of beef, argued about whether soup is “eaten” or “drunk”, and wondered what makes puris puff only on one side. And when we’re not sharing food, we’re sharing interesting bits of food writing.

Here’s what’s fired my imagination in recent times:

On How The Domestic Kitchen Came To Be:

Bill Bryson’s

At Home

is less popular than this deservedly legendary

A Short History Of Nearly Everything

. But it is such a wonderful easy-to-follow history of Western domestic history.

The chapter on the Kitchen covers food adulteration, how canning technology revolutionised meals, ice, breadmaking, transport, utensils, iconic recipe books and Victorian diets. Great stories on every page.

More about the book here:


On The Tupperware Empire

Sure it was invented by some guy named Tupper. But the person who put those plastic dabbas on your shelf and lunch bag was a single mother named Brownie Wise. She figured out that the new plasticware needed a different sales strategy. She invented those famous Tupperware parties – flinging gravy-filled bowls at the wall to demonstrate they were spillproof. She make them cool.

Her story here:


On How We’ve Viewed Balanced Diets

Sorry America, I don’t believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day (I’ve eaten it for only 1% of my life). What’s healthy has always been hotly contested, which means even today’s diktats should be taken with a pinch of salt (And salt may just be good for you, after all).

Cultures around the world view healthy eating differently.

Find them here in a nice slideshow:


On Food Photography

Every article I’ve read about food styling focuses on tricks, substitutes and how yummy images are made using inedible components. This one took the idea further, looking at how food imagery in magazines has evolved from static perfection to rustic drama.

This here is serious food for thought:


On Not Taking Food So Seriously

John Lanchester has written one of my favourite books,

The Debt To Pleasure

, which I refuse to finish because I want to be in the middle of it forever. You can always count on him to make the personal, the professional, the history and the trendy come together to make an excellent point: stop being such a tiresome, over-thinking “foodie” and just eat the damn thing.



Rachel Lopez knows there are too many food and beauty blogs out there, and yet, here she is with one of her own, 'Palate/Palette.'

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From HT Brunch, March 26
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