Genre: "Food" Books
Food writing regards food not only as a substance, but also as a cultural phenomenon. Food writer John T. Edge explains how the genre views its topic: "Food is essential to life. It’s arguably our nation’s biggest industry. Food, not sex, is our most frequently indulged pleasure. Food—too much, not enough, the wrong kind, the wrong frequency—is one of our society’s greatest causes of disease and death." Food writer Mark Kurlansky links this vision of food directly to food writing, giving the genre's scope and range when he observes: “Food is about agriculture, about ecology, about man’s relationship with nature, about the climate, about nation-building, cultural struggles, friends and enemies, alliances, wars, religion. It is about memory and tradition and, at times, even about sex.”
Because food writing is topic centered, it is not a genre in itself, but writing that utilizes a wide range of traditional genres, including recipes, journalism, memoir, and travelogues. Food writing can also refer to poetry and fiction, such as Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time), with its famous passage in which the narrator recollects his childhood memories as a result of sipping tea and eating a madeleine.