Foodie Resources

I am a foodie, through and through. When I’m not eating food, I’m thinking about food, reading about food, prepping next week’s menu or planning the next foodie adventure with friends.

I often get asked where I find it all, so I’ve collected a list below of some of my favorite books, articles and tv shows on food, as well as some general advice. Let me know your favorites!

Resources:

  • Anything and everything Anthony Bourdain
    • Because he taught us that through food and travel, we can better understand a people and a culture. This is where my love for food began.
  • Articles on Thrillest and Eater
    • These sites have great recommendations for the hottest new restaurants in town, the drink of the summer (hard seltzers, obviously), and various food and travel recommendations. My top resource when traveling.
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A natural history of four meals by Michael Pollan
    • The industrial organic, big corn, fast food and feedlots. It’s hard to read Pollan’s book and continue living your life not at least slightly changed. The food supply chain is something so present yet so invisible in our daily lives. But, every single one of us is a player in it, and our choices make a big impact on the kind of food industry our country has and will have in the future.
    • Michael Pollan is also behind the series Cooked on Netflix and Food, Inc.
  • Alison Cook’s Top 100 list for the Houston Chronicle
    • This is my Houston bucket list.
    • Cook’s suggestions vary from high-end choices like Xochi, Yauatcha (RIP) and UB Preserv to lesser known spots like Cedars Bakery and Al Aseel.
  • You and I Eat the Same: On the Countless Ways Food and Cooking Connect Us to One Another
    • Every piece in here is fantastic, from exploring the numerous ways in which cultures wrap and steam food in leaves, to a personal story of how coffee was critical to life after the Rwandan Genocide. Each article is a bite-sized, but thoughtful, conversation on food. I could not suggest this book more.
    • From the book: “I sell my pav bhaji with an egg as a brunch at the farmers’ market…I want people to try different flavors, so I’ll put it in something they know and understand,” says an immigrant cook in San Francisco. Do chefs need to change their food and their culture to make it fit our tastes?
    • “Cultural critics debate whether the habit of dining at ethnic restaurants represents a praiseworthy openness to diversity or a sinister form of cultural imperialism.” Yikes, that one hit close to home.
    • There are more great resources at MAD Dispatches, which published the book.
  • Cook Like a Local: Flavors that can change how you cook and see the world: A cookbook by Chris Shepherd
    • Chris Shepherd is another one of my favorite food people, and his new cook book is the perfect resource that condenses his worldview, as well as some of his best recipes.
    • “Every city, and nearly every town, has its share of immigrant and cultural communities. Usually, they’re concentrated in specific neighborhoods. The food traditions of these communities are often kept within these neighborhoods as well, at a distance. They remain outliers, the food relegated to an ‘international’ or ‘ethnic’ label rather than viewed as what they are – as part of a regional cuisine.”
    • My favorite recipes include Vietnamese Steak Au Poivre (so easy to make!), negimaki and Vietnamese fajitas.
  • Taco Chronicles on Netflix
    • Six short episodes, walking through different taco types and regions of Mexico. The series is entirely in Spanish and showcases the passion people have behind tacos and food in general.
    • “Ultimately, that is what we want to achieve when making a taco, to make a connection with people’s souls. And if they are not Mexican, they can become Mexican through tacos.”
  • Chef’s Table on Netflix
    • If you like food at all, you’ve heard of this show. It’s also some of the best cinematography in television.
    • The show has covered fine dining behemoths such as Alinea, Pujol and Central, as well as a few unassuming spots like South Philly Barbacoa. It’s a look into the chefs – how they’ve learned, the challenges they’ve overcome, and their philosophy of cooking – as well as their quintessential dishes.
    • One hour of watching this show can easily turn into spontaneously booking a roundtrip ticket to Lima or Mexico City.
    • Their spinoff series Street Food shows a less expensive and more realistic side of food.
  • Gastropod
    • While many episodes of this podcast focus on the science behind food, I really love the ones about history, culture and the restaurant industry, including ‘Why you should care about Southern food,’ ‘The United States of Chinese food,’ and ‘Menu mind control.’

Advice:

  • Challenge yourself to visit one new restaurant each week, or at least once a month. Otherwise, you may get stuck in a routine, or use “I’m too busy” as an excuse. Do the same in your cooking. You really can make hummus or fried chicken or dumplings – just try it!
  • Seek recommendations from trusted friends. Don’t just look to a 4-star Google or Yelp review, because those people may not know what you like.
  • Don’t feel like you have to like a restaurant or a dish, just because a list or a friend tells you you should.
  • Don’t be afraid to eat alone. Some of my best foodie memories have been alone – whether sitting at a Michelin star dim sum counter in Paris or my favorite Taiwanese beef noodle shop in Houston.

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