Look beyond cookery books if you\'re a food fan

Look beyond cookery books if you're a food fanGetty Images

One of our favourite past times here at F&W is getting stuck into a good book. So a book that combines our love for food and our passion for reading is a winning combination.

Most food lovers will have their fair share of cookbooks to browse at home but If you want to learn more about food itself, or find a different perspective, give this lot a go. 

In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan has been writing about nature, culture and all things food for the past 30 years. His in-depth knowledge of food gives you a great understanding of the industry across the board, from farming to the side effects of drugs. This book is one of his best, being amazingly honest without being preachy. In it, he talks about the misinformed wording on packaging and how scientific claims often have no truth to them. The aim of the book is to help people reclaim their health and happiness and their love of food. Michael’s main focus is to make people enjoy food again without fearing it or over-thinking the benefits.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, Samin Nosrat

For nearly 20 years Samin has been working in kitchens, observing a pattern to everything she cooked. She realised that every basic part of cooking contains four elements that are key to developing flavour: salt, fat, acid, and heat. Samin began to write this book nearly 15 years ago, hoping to teach everyone, from amateurs to professionals, to be better cooks with these simple key components. In it, she explores the science behind her theory and shares recipes too. It's a great read for any hardcore food lover, who wants to get a deeper understanding of how food works.

Toast, Nigel Slater

Nigel Slater would be one of the best-known chefs around, with most households owning at least one of his cookbooks but to reach that success was not a smooth ride. This is a story told through food and dives into how a child who failed his GCSE went on to win six literary awards. Toast is not an autobiography in the generic sense - there is no chronological order to it. The events are written at random but the stories become more apparent as you read on. It is, however, an unashamedly intimate, and somewhat unnerving, journey through his childhood and adolescence. Nigel's bravery in writing such an honest and heartfelt book just strengthens our respect for him.

A Cook’s Tour, Anthony Bourdain

A Cook's Tour is the best kind of guide book, as you accompany late food writer Anthony Bourdain on his travels, experiencing local cultures and cuisine. It is quite moving to read his stories now he is no longer with us. Inspired by the question, “What would be the perfect meal?” Anthony brings you on his boozy tour, building relationships with locals as he goes. His honesty is endearing, there is no faffing around he just says it how it is - and his descriptions of some of the dishes he tries will give you goosebumps! This wonderful book is so visual and descriptive you feel like you have been transported to a different place. A fantastic read for any foodie or traveller.

Waisted Calories and Ruined Nights, Jay Rayner

Writer Jay Rayner is the Observer’s restaurant critic and Wasted Calories and Ruined Nights archives his reviews on each place he has been to in London and parts of the UK. The book is brutally honest and tough to read at times but it is so witty and well written, you can’t stop reading. Readers at F&W actually laughed out loud when reading his crude but honest reviews (he openly discusses the issue with fine dining and "fiddling with glasses"). Really, he just wants good food. His constant wit and sharp tongue make it such a fun read, perfect for anyone who has a dark sense of humour and a love for food.

What She Ate, Laura Shapiro

What She Ate tells the stories of six powerful women through their relationships with food. What they ate, what they didn't, and how food is a cultural and social touchstone. There's Dorothy Wordsworth, sister of the poet Willam Wordsworth, who began writing journals at 28 and had a deep love of food; Adolf Hitler' partner Eva Braun who consumed mostly Champagne and salad and cockney housewife Rosa Lewis who used food to climb the social ladder. Former US First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt also features and was recognised as the worst cook in the White House history. A well researched and entertaining read.