Adam Fields (weblog)

This blog is largely deprecated, but is being preserved here for historical interest. Check out my index page at for more up to date info. My main trade is technology strategy, process/project management, and performance optimization consulting, with a focus on enterprise and open source CMS and related technologies. More information. I write periodic long pieces here, shorter stuff goes on twitter or


Influential food books of the past 10-20 years

Filed under: — adam @ 9:56 am

Someone on a list asked about influential food books of the past 10-20 years. Here’s my list:

Books that started the trend of deconstructing modern food chains:

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

This one is notable because it’s one of the first I’ve read that’s really well balanced with looking at balancing health, environmental impact, and worker welfare, but also taking into account taste and the fact that people really like to eat foreign foods:

The Ethical Gourmet

Seminal books that explore the science of cooking:

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)

The beginning of the restaurant insider expose:

Kitchen Confidential Updated Edition: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (P.S.)

The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America

And the evolution towards bringing restaurant and cooking school techniques to the home chef:

Think Like a Chef

Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking

There are many excellent recent cookbooks, but I don’t know how many of them really qualify as influential.



Why all this mucking about with irrevocable licenses?

The Google+ Terms of Service include various provisions to give them license to display your content, and this has freaked out a bunch of professional photographers:

‘By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.’

I don’t even understand why this is necessary. Why can’t this just be ‘you give us a license to display your content on the service until you delete it’?

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