Category Archives: Good Books

My Foodie Reading Wish List Just Got a Whole Lot Longer

Usually they are arranged by height and topic, but I'm off my game it seems

Usually they are arranged by height and topic, but I’m off my game it seems

My classes at UNF resumed again last week for the Spring semester and I’m pretty stoked about them. Classes titled such names as “Community Nutrition” and “Food Science” make me swoon with pleasure just thinking of all the cool stuff I am going to learn (nutrition nerd alert). Another class I am really enjoying is “Food, Health, and Society” which, according to the syllabus, is described as “an analysis of how social, psychological, cultural, historical, political, and ecological factors impact food, nutrition, and society.” I mean, really. How cool does that sound?! We are talking about such topics as: “Why do people eat bugs?”, “Why do people eat people?”, and “Who invented the fortune cookie anyway?”The answer is usually found within a culture’s traditions or norms – except in the case of this harrowing tale (more on that later). I also enjoy the class because the professor is one of my favorites, eternally cheerful and even occasionally chuckling at her own jokes, which I find absolutely endearing. Oh, and she has real life dietitian experience out the wazoo, plus she’s organized and on the ball. An organized professor is one of the many quirky things that just make my little Virgo heart oh-so-happy.

I only wish I would have received her syllabus a long time ago, because in it, she put a list of 32 recommended books relevant to the class which are authored by the likes of Michael Pollan (already read those), Marion Nestle (read that one too), and Wendell Berry (yup). But there are SO many other authors there that I don’t recognize and it feels good to have these books recommended by an actual professor/ RD who I know. It can be so overwhelming going to the foodie section at the bookstore because you don’t know if the one you spend your precious book money (I don’t have a shoe or purse fund; I have a book fund) on is going to be a bunch of malarkey or not. Now I can systematically work down this list (Virgo) and by the end, I will really know my stuff! And you can too, because I’m going to share it with you! You’re welcome!

Recommended Reading List for Food, Health, and Society, Spring 2013, Nutrition and Dietetics Program at UNF

(Compiled by Dr. Judy Perkin, RD)

Beardsworth, A. and Keil, T. Sociology on the Menu: An Invitation to the Study of Food and SocietyLondon, UK and New York, New York: Routledge, 1997

 Belasco, W. Meals to Come-A History of the Future of Food. Berkley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, 2006.

 Bendiner, K. Food in Painting- From the Renaissance to the Present. London: Reaktion Books, Ltd., 2004.

 Berry, W. Bringing It To the Table- On Farming and Food. Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2009.

 Bower. A ( Editor). Recipes for Reading: Community Cookbooks, Stories, and Histories. Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 1997.

 Cary, N. Hunger and Thirst: Food Literature. San Diego: City Works Press, 2008.

 Chapman, P. Bananas- How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World. Edinburgh, New York, and Melbourne, 2007.

 DeGregori, T.R. Bountiful Harvest: Technology, Food Safety, and the Environment. Washington, D.C.: The Cato Institute, 2002.

 Fagone, J. Horsemen of the Esophagus: Competitive Eating and the Big Fat American Dream. New York, New York:  Random House, Inc., 2007.

 Fisher, C. The American Cookbook: A History. Jefferson, North Carolina:  Mc Farland and Company, Inc., 2006.

 Goody CM, Drago L. Cultural Food Practices.  Chicago, Illinois: American Dietetic Association, 2010.

 Haber, B. From hardtack to home fries: an uncommon history of American cooks and meals. New York, New York: Free Press, 2002.

 Jacobson. M.F. Six Arguments for a Greener Diet. Washington, D.C.: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006.

 Kittler, P.G. and Sucher, K.P. Food and Culture. Fourth Edition. Belmont, California: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2004.

 Koeppel, D. Banana-The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World.  New York, New York : Penguin Group, 2008.

 Manring, M.M. Slave in A Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima. Charlottesville and LondonUniversity of Virginia Press, 1998.

 Meiselman, H. L. Dimensions of the meal: the science, culture, business, and art of eating.  Gaithersburg, Maryland: Aspen Publishers, 2000.

 Nestle, Marion.  Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health.  Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 2002,2007.

 Neuhaus, J. Manly Meals and Mom’s Home Cooking: Cookbooks and Gender in Modern America. Baltimore, Md. And London, UK.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

 Petrini, C. Slow Food: The Case for Taste. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

 Pollan, M. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York, New York: Penguin Group, 2006.

 Pollan, M. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.. New York, New York: Penguin Group, 2008.

  Reichel, R. Tender at the Bone: Growing Up At the Table. New York: Broadway Books, 1998.

 Robin, M-M.  The World According to Monsanto- Pollution, Corruption, and the Control of Our Food Supply.  New York: The New Press, 2008.

Schenone, L. A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove: A History of American Women Told Through Food, Recipes, and Rembrances. New York/London: W.W. Norton and Company, 2003.

 Schofield, M.A. ( Editor) Cooking By the Book: Food in Literature and Culture.  Bowling Green: Bowling Green University Press, 2008.

 Schlosser, E. Fast Food Nation: the dark side of the all- American meal. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin, 2001.

Theophano, J. Eat My Words: Reading Women’s Lives through the Cookbooks They Wrote. New York, New York: Palgrave, 2002.

 Toussant-Samat, M. History of Food. New York, New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1987/1992.

 Wenger, S.K. and Jensen, J.K. The Book Lover’s Cookbook- Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature and the Passages that Feature Them.  New York: Ballantine Books, 2003.

 Wilk, R. Home Cooking in the Global Village: Caribbean Food From Bucaneers to Ecotourists.  Oxford, UK and New York, New York, 2006.

 Zimmerman, S. Food in the Movies.  Second Edition.  Jefferson, N.C.: Mc Farland and Company, Inc. , 2010.

My Brainy Obsession and the New Year

I tend to analyze myself constantly. Am I smart enough? Am I focused enough? Am I too emotional? All of those self worth questions invariably lead me to think about the brain: how it works and what can I do/eat/read to make it work better. Part of my brain self education came through a book suggested to my by my fabulous yoga instructor, Cindi Bersinger, over at Power Yoga San Marco. Pretty much everything she says is filled with wisdom, so last summer when she told the class she was reading Buddha’s Brain by  Dr. Richard Mendius, I (and I’m sure a few others) ran out to get it. And it was fabulous! It really changed the way I think about thinking, if that makes any sense. It’s all about how you can physically change the connections in your brain just by thinking! It uses scientifically proven neuroscience for working toward better relationships, healthier self-esteem, greater emotional well-being, more effective actions, and deepened spiritual understanding.

Then one day, I was watching TED talks on TV, and happened to see Jill Bolte Taylor’s amazing talk about what it was like to experience a stroke as a neuroanatomist. I’ve watched her video “A Stroke of Insight” several times since and am looking forward to reading the book that has stemmed from it. She explains our dual personas which are divided by the right and left brains and the Nirvana she reached when she temporarily lost one side during a stroke. It was really a mesmerizing story. You can watch the 20 minute video here:

Fantastic stuff, right? A group called Symphony of Science used part of her talk to create an awesome song called, “Ode to the Brain”, which I have also watched many times. Good luck trying to get the chorus out of your head, though!

Anyway, imagine my joy last week when I spotted National Geographic’s new “The Brain: 100 Things You Never Knew/ A User’s Guide” on the magazine rack:

National Geographic's Awesome Brain Issue

You better believe I brought it home and almost forgot to put the groceries away in my hurry to dive in. (See what I mean about lack of focus?) It’s FULL of great information on the learning brain, the perceptive brain, the unconscious brain, the emotional brain, and the aging brain. There are also some brain puzzles and really great photos included. (Time Magazine also made a similar issue in 2007, but I haven’t read it.)

So, what have I discovered in all my brainy obsession? I’ve discovered that the brain is a complex, fragile, get surprisingly resilient masterpiece that can be damaged by over consumption of alcohol,  drugs, sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, and negative thinking.  The bright side is that it hums like a well oiled machine on good food, plenty of sleep, full hydration, and exercise (both brain and body – think soduku AND the elliptical machine).



I’m writing about this now because it is New Year’s Eve and I know many of you will stay out late, drink too much, and grab a Krystal burger or two on the way home before falling asleep in your little black dress on the couch. (Not that I’ve ever done that.) But I’m saying just take a moment to be thankful for your amazing brain and try to give it a little consideration tonight. Maybe alternate champagne with bottled water, take a multivitamin, skip the liquor shots, eat some walnuts, berries, salmon, broccoli, whole grains, and/or chocolate tonight, and snuggle up with the one you love shortly after the ball drops so that you can wake up in 2013 rested, hydrated, and hangover-free. Maybe schedule in some meditation time and a little cardio when you wake up tomorrow to start the year off right.  Carpe diem! Seize the new day and the New Year . I wish all of you a happy, content, prosperous, peaceful new year full of joy, love, and good health.