Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Theme: Good Food

From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce - (ISBN: 978-0972121781)

by Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition

This thoughtful guide to using seasonal vegetables offers recipes that appeal even to children. The book was created out of necessity by a group of Wisconsin farm growers who sell produce in bulk to pre-arranged buyers. Would you know what to do with 20 pounds of turnips? Find out what a CSA is and how supporting a local group ensures that more small farms can stay in business. Learn how to eat according to the season and your local offerings, and how to cook deliciously within those boundaries.

Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat: Secrets of my Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen - (ISBN: 978-0385339988)

by Naomi Moriyama

Moriyama recreates her mother’s tiny cooking area, its utensils, appliances, and foods, in a gentle lecture on changing your life by adopting the Japanese “pillars” of good eating: fish, vegetables, rice, soy, noodles, tea, and fruit. In addition to simple recipes and instructions on how to convert your kitchen, the author also shares some of her mother’s helpful advice on caring for your body, such as eating only until you are 80% full. Can you adopt any of the principles suggested here to make life healthier?

Keeping House: A Novel in Recipes - (ISBN: 978-0791464793)

by Clara Sereni Giovanna Micelli Jeffries

Translated from the Italian, this novel presents intriguing Italian recipes against the backdrop of a young Jewish woman’s life as she comes of age near Rome. This book doesn’t so much tell a story as create impressions, and the recipes add a lot of appeal. The chapter titles are like the labels in your recipe box: meat, vegetables, side dishes, etc., and the musings in the book relate to the recipes in each section. If you love cooking and the stories recipes tell, try this international offering.

Like Water for Chocolate - (ISBN: 0385474016)

by Laura Esquivel

This romance in 12 chapters begins each chapter with a recipe that somehow becomes an integral part of the events in the chapter. Young Tita’s family forbids her to marry the man she loves because she has an older, unwed sister. After her lover ends up with the sister, Tita cooks a delectable meal including an entry made with roses in an attempt to woo back the love of her life. Eventually, her sister and husband leave, and Tita marries someone else after her mother dies. What happens when the sister and husband return to the family home? Magic realism at its best, this novel also features revolution, the spiritual return of the dead mother, and a surprising, romantic ending. Have you ever cooked a meal designed to entice a boyfriend or girlfriend?

My Year of Meats - (ISBN: 978-0140280463)

by Ruth L. Ozeki

This book alternates between a Japanese woman trying to be a good housewife and a Japanese-American film maker working in international spots. Beyond the expected cultural comparisons between a stay-at-home wife in a foreign culture and a professionally employed working woman, the book focuses on the meat industry. Meat is very important in the Japanese diet, but it’s an expensive commodity there. When the Japanese woman reacts to a documentary exposing hormone usage in the meat industry, the two women find commonality in their attempts to expose the practices. Extremely creative recipes with beef round out the seriousness of the book. Do you really want to try fudge made with beef?

Southshire Pepper-Pot: A Literary Feast with Culinary Refrains - (ISBN: 978-0979963308)

by Southshire Roundtable

This anthology of stories, poems, and short pieces shares appeal with the <i>Chicken Soup for the Soul </i>collection. In addition to providing thoughtful literary works, the author shares sumptuous recipes throughout the book. The author is not one person, but, instead, a Vermont writing group publishing its creative works and recipes in this delightful volume. Read a little of this each day to savor the ideas, the art, and the food.

The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals - (ISBN: 978-0762430758)

by Missy Chase Lapine

Is this book an indispensable guide to tricking your children into healthy eating, or does it contain too much subterfuge for your kitchen? Read it and find out if you can incorporate some of these recipes into your meal planning.

Chocolate - (ISBN: 978-0141000183)

by Joanne Harris

Cooking for Mr. Right - (ISBN: 0451215249)

by Susan Volland

Dim Sum Dead: A Madeline Bean Culinary Mystery - (ISBN: 978-0380817184)

by Jerrilyn Farmer

Feeding Christine - (ISBN: 978-0553381122)

by Barbara Chepaitis

The Secret Lives of the Sushi Club - (ISBN: 0425202755)

by Christy Yorke

Activities for this Theme

Use this site to find local farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture coops, and learn about seasonal crops. 

Read this blog about family dinners. It is all about helping parents get family dinners on the table. 

For an inside look at the new community based agriculture movement, watch the DVD The Dirt on Farmer Brown.

For a great family activity, try cooking together.

For an insightful look at the fast food industry, try the video Super Size Me .