24 February 2009

Books about Food Challenge: Wrap Up

Last week I finished my first challenge for 2009: Books about Food hosted by Historia. The challenge, which started on October 1, 2008, asked us to read five nonfiction books about food. If you're a foodie, check out the challenge's blog to see what everyone's been reading.

Here is the list of my challenge books, with my rating. Click on the link to read my review.

Salt by Mark Kurlansky (B-)
Heat by Bill Buford (A)
House of Mondavi by Julia Flynn Siler (A)
French Lessons by Peter Mayle (B+)
More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin (B)

I liked all five books. Salt took me around the world and back in time, as I learned about salt's role in trade routes and kingdoms. Heat focused on Buford's journey to become a restaurant chef by following in Mario Batali's footsteps. I read about the soap opera life of the Mondavi family and Robert's influence on the American wine industry in House of Mondavi. And I finished up the challenge with two memoirs: Mayle's essays in French Lessons related his experiences at a variety of French food festivals, and Colwin's essays in More Home Cooking had a more personal touch.

Thanks to Historia for hosting this great challenge.


bermudaonion 2/24/09, 8:40 AM  

Way to go! I'm impressed since I haven't finished a challenge yet.

caite 2/24/09, 9:20 AM  

I guess I never realized there were that many non-fiction books about food.

Sandy Nawrot 2/24/09, 9:35 AM  

I honestly could read nothing but books about cooking and food. I never get tired of them!

Unknown 2/24/09, 9:53 AM  

Congrats on finishing your first challenge for the year! woohoo!

Anonymous,  2/24/09, 11:45 AM  

Nice wrap up of the book challenge. I'm with Sandy. It has not been a hardship to be in this challenge as I enjoy food books. I vicariously enjoyed your books. I'm sorry that more people didn't participate in the challenge. I'd love to keep going but actually have committed myself to a lot of other challenges. But food books are fun reading for me so I won't quit reading them. Maybe not for a challenge.

Robin M 2/24/09, 12:10 PM  

Congrats on finishing the challenge. I'll have to read Salt. Looks interesting.

TexasRed 2/24/09, 12:50 PM  

I've heard other people talking about "Salt" too. Usually I either buy novels or cookbooks, not other books about food, but think I may need to check this one out.

Stacy 2/24/09, 2:24 PM  

I really enjoyed Heat, so I am with you on giving it an A. I keep coming across reviews of Colwin's work. I am going to have to add her to my TBR list.

Olga 2/24/09, 2:38 PM  

If you plan on doing this challenge again, I suggest Nathaniel's Nutmeg by Giles Milton, a great read about the history of the spice trade!

Dorte H 2/24/09, 2:52 PM  

Mm, I like looking at your spices.
One of my students once wrote, "Racism is the belief that some spices are better than others." - so beware of spiceism!

Unknown 2/24/09, 3:29 PM  

Oh boy. You are awesome. Way to to! I got stuck on The Omnivore's Dilemma and I haven't made much progress here. I need to get moving!

Salt is on my bookshelf. Looks like you read some good ones.

Molly 2/24/09, 3:56 PM  

Just wanted you to know that I gave your blog a shout today - and an award :)

S. Krishna 2/24/09, 4:46 PM  

Congratulations! I'm impressed!

Melody 2/24/09, 6:31 PM  

Congrats on completing the challenge, Beth!

Anonymous,  2/24/09, 6:43 PM  

I've been meaning to read Salt for a while now - doubt I'll get around to it for a while though.

Thanks for commenting on my blog. I was wondering what you use to show the progress of each challenge that you have on the left side of your main blog page? I think that looks really good.

Ladytink_534 2/24/09, 7:42 PM  

Congrats on finishing your challenge! Looks like you read some good ones too!

Beth F 2/25/09, 5:43 PM  

Thanks everyone!!! And I have to say that this wasn't much of a challenge; I love food-related books!

Olga: I've heard of that book, I'll add it to my wish list. Sounds really good.

Dorte: LOL!

D Dubs: either look at my footer (under "thanks") or click on one of the bars and you'll get to site that generates the code. I too love the bars.

Eva @ One Swede Read 2/25/09, 6:27 PM  

What a great challenge - wish I had known about it and that it'll show up again next year!!

Congrats on finishing!

And, (maybe) thanks to all of the participants for expanding my wishlist! :)

Anonymous,  2/27/09, 3:20 PM  

Nice wrap-up! The picture with the spice bowls looks so good and fresh!

Congrats on finishing the challenge ... and in such a short time!

Anonymous,  2/27/09, 3:36 PM  

Congratulations! How have you been? Gosh, it feels like I haven't talked to you since forever. ;) That can't be true though...lol! Hope all is well with you. I need to get on Twitter and catch up...see how everyone is doing.

Way to go with this challenge! I'm not too sure how I am doing with mine. I've been tackling the two 999s and not worrying so much about the upcoming ones. That might not be good.

Beth F 2/27/09, 3:43 PM  

J. Kaye: Sad, isn't it! Between your family being sick and my being busy with work . . .

I'm trying this strategy: Concentrate on one challenge at a time, but not exclusively, so I have a chance to meet them all. We'll see. I have one category complete for the 999. But a glance at my progress bars shows that there are challenges I haven't even started. Yikes!

Anonymous,  2/27/09, 3:48 PM  

I have plenty of challenges I haven't started yet either. Those only have like four books in them and I'm not worried. They don't end until the end of the year. I'm betting that isn't a smart attitude though. ;)

You mentioning bars is a reminder I haven't undated my challenge lists! I need to get on that now.

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