Histories to savor
In this season of eating, here are three fascinating (and giftable) books about the history of food.
The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South (Amistad) by Michael Twitty is a culinary historian's journey into his own past as well as that of Southern food, which might be the strongest bridge between races.
The Gourmands' Way: Six Americans in Paris and the Birth of a New Gastronomy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Justin Spring is a lively look at how, in the post-World War II years, food writers A.J. Liebling, Julia Child, M.F.K. Fisher, Alexis Lichine, Richard Olney and Alice B. Toklas reshaped how America ate.
The Taste of Empire: How Britain's Quest for Food Shaped the Modern World (Basic Books) by Lizzie Collingham recounts 20 meals over 450 years to portray how food and empire interacted to change cultures, culinary tastes and even landscapes around the globe.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor