1) Remembrance of Things Paris: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet

A collection of essays from the sadly-defunct Gourmet, a patchwork of memories about Paris. I’ve never visited Paris, but the essays construct so vivid a picture I can imagine myself there… This would make a good pre-trip read, especially since the essays are not just about food. Besides, even those on food are never just about food.

The essays on Les Halles, the old central market, were particularly riveting. In one particular essay from the 60s, it was said that governments may rise and fall, but Les Halles will always be there. And yet, the subsequent essay (from the 70s, if I don’t remember wrongly) is about the move of Les Halles to the suburbs.

2) Bottomfeeder: How to eat ethically in a world of vanishing seafood, by Taras Grescoe

I love seafood so this is a particularly relevant read. “The story of a seafood lover’s round-the-world quest for a truly decent meal… from a strip-mall Red Lobster to the rotary-sushi bars of Tokyo, Taras Grescoe, the acclaimed author of The Devil’s Picnic, travels to the end of the seafood chain and back.”

“Bottomfeeder is a balanced and practical guide to eating, as Grescoe explains to readers which fish are best for our environment, our seas and our bodies.” It also offers “..a look at the world’s cuisines and an examination of the fishing and farming practices we need to know about in order to be better consumers of seafood”.

The more I read about food, the more I realise how important (and hard) it is to choose what you eat. For a start, I’ll stay away from beef, cod and monkfish.