If you love to burrow into a food book with as much enthusiasm as with a novel, try 50 Foods: The Essentials of Good Taste,” by Edward Behr (Penguin Press, $35). Long before there were bloggers, Behr offered his thoughts on food in the Art of Eating, a journal he founded.
Here he examines 50 foods that he considers to be essential — acknowledging that not everyone will agree — and offers a bit of history and best preparation technique for each, all in his distinctively simple, elegant prose.
His list tilts East Coast (he lives in Vermont) and occasionally highbrow, with anchovies, caviar, cod, crab, oysters, sweetbreads and truffles among them.
But the remainder of the foodstuffs will be familiar, with chocolate, honey, lettuce, pork and more that come under his microscope. It’s a delightful book with beautiful design and clever illustrations from Mikel Jaso that will make you smile (at least I did). No recipes, but plenty of insight.
— Lee Svitak Dean
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)