[#RapplerReads] Nutritious and delectable books to add to your TBR list

Marj Casal Handog
[#RapplerReads] Nutritious and delectable books to add to your TBR list
This nutrition month we asked some foodies to share one book about food that they would recommend you read

Editor’s note: #RapplerReads is a project of the BrandRap team. We earn a commission every time you shop through the affiliate links below.

What’s your book fetish? I know writers who like reading books about writing, artists who like reading books about art, and book lovers who like reading books about books. So, this nutrition month, we asked foodies – a food stylist, a restaurateur, a lifestyle reporter, and a cooking show host – what books about food they loved reading and recommend that you read, too. 

Here are some of the nutritious and delectable book titles they shared with us:

Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera by Delores Custer

My favorite book about food is something a bit more technical. Delores Custer’s book on food styling is a must-read for anyone who’s interested in food production work – be it food styling, photography, or videography. She makes the process of faking food for the camera less daunting with comprehensive tips simplified in steps and complete with visual aids. She wrote this book during a time when competition in the industry was fierce and barriers-to-entry for any food stylist were at its peak, hence the generosity in the knowledge she imparts is quite impressive. I go back to this book time and time again as a bible of sorts since it makes me more efficient in my line of work and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in the same field.

— Mylene Chung, food photographer and art director

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat is a James Beard Award-winning New York Times Bestseller. This book is a good starting point for anyone wanting to make great food at home. It was one of the books that opened my eyes to the simplicity of how these four elements affect the way we taste and how we are only bound by our creativity when creating complex and exciting flavors. 

Whenever I travel and taste food from different cultures, I always keep the concepts from this book in mind as I try to analyze the processes behind how things are made. This greatly impacts how we create flavor concepts at Kurīmu Ice Cream – how we balance fat with acid, salt with sugar, and how we incorporate temperature to create unique flavor permutations from different ingredients around us.

— Bryan Kong, restaurateur

How Not To Die by Michael Greger

The title may seem a bit alarmist, but this self-health book is just keeping it real! Michael Greger’s “How Not To Die” simply tells us how diet and lifestyle can help heal and prevent different diseases, backed up by scientific studies.

I have chronic kidney disease, so this book (specifically, the chapter on kidney disease) played a part in improving my kidney stats. I picked it up at a time when I was just starting a mostly plant-based diet, and Greger reiterated how this kind of diet could help reverse kidney disease. And so I pushed on, and true enough – a year later, my kidney labs have normalized. Moral of the story? Eat your veggies, kids!

It’s a helpful, concrete, and self-empowering guide, encompassing specific foods and habits to adopt to help you heal yourself. It also tackles different conditions like heart disease, breast cancer, hypertension, and other acute and chronic illnesses.

— Steph Arnaldo, Rappler Lifestyle reporter

Eat, Taste, Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living by Dr. Thomas Yarema M.D., Daniel Rhoda, Chef Johnny Brannigan

It serves up Ayurvedic principles and food as medicine for the beginner. By explaining the “doshas” and understanding how your body works, Dr. Yarema shows us how we can heal our bodies through the simplest of ways. By our intake.

The recipes are simple and packed with flavor. Photos are beautiful. Cookbooks are as much about the photos as they are the recipes!

Dr. Yarema also touches on some daily habits based on Ayurvedic medicine that can help live a healthy lifestyle as well. Couple this with meditation and yoga? Or some other healing modality? And somehow I feel I am equipping myself to also take better care of my family.

— Michelle Aventajado of Momma ‘N Manila and Kitchen 143 host

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

My own recommendation is a fiction book by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. It’s not exactly a cookbook nor a book about food. It’s a romance slash mystery slash dystopian novel about parallel universes, black cats, jazz music, and a whole lot of Japanese food. 

Savor the descriptions of the meals that one of the protagonists, Tengo, cooks. From simple meals like: “Breakfast was exactly the same every day – dried horse mackerel and fried eggs, a quartered tomato, seasoned dried seaweed, miso soup with shijimi clams, and rice – but for some reason it tasted wonderful every morning.”

To a bit more elaborate ones: “Listening to tracks like “Mother’s Little Helper” and “Lady Jane,” he made rice pilaf using ham and mushrooms and brown rice, and miso soup with tofu and wakame. He boiled cauliflower and flavored it with curry sauce he prepared. He made a green bean and onion salad.”

You’ll find more mouthwatering descriptions of what the rest of the characters eat especially when they go to restaurants or udon shops. 

Our final recommendation isn’t a book but a reminder to not read these books late at night or when you’re hungry if you don’t want to suddenly crave for delicious food! – Rappler.com

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Marj Casal Handog

Marj Casal heads the content team of BrandRap, Rappler’s sales and marketing arm. She helps create native advertising campaigns for brands like San Miguel Brewery, Shell, GCash, Grab, BDO, and more.