Connection, Healing, Pleasure: The 2020 Real Food Reads Season

“Food is where we meet, where we build, where we struggle, where we survive.” – Peoples’ Kitchen Collective


It’s been a thrilling year for Real Food Reads. In 2019, our featured books challenged and inspired us in ways we hadn’t imagined possible. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Books. Have. Power.

Alyshia Gálvez, Daniel Imhoff, Anna Lappé, and Timothy Wise gave us a big picture understanding of some of the most pressing global crises of our time. Monica White, Mark Shapiro, Joshua Specht, and Dina Gilio-Whitaker exposed often invisible histories that shed light on the solutions we need. Paloma Martínez-Cruz, Mark Arax, and Teresa Mares wove local storytelling with innovative analysis in mind-expanding ways. We could not be prouder of our growing family of Real Food Read authors.

As we look toward the next season of Real Food Reads—and a new decade of food movementing—we feel a strong sense of yearning, not only for analysis, but for connection, healing, and pleasure. So we’re making a subtle shift in 2020 by including more books that light up our taste buds as well as our brain cells.

Not to worry, we’ll still be digging into food policy. But we’ll also be moving out of the streets and halls of power to dinner tables and kitchens around the world; to market stalls and communal spaces where food is prepared, shared, and enjoyed. We’ll be talking with chefs and cookbook authors who play an important role as culture-keepers, storytellers, and visionaries. These dynamos are keeping heritage alive, bringing communities together through the pleasure of eating, and (re-)shaping the food system through the power of our ancestor’s foodways.

We’ve got some truly vibrant cookbooks lined up for you for 2020, whose recipes tell stories of identity, migration, oppression, and survival. First up, get a taste of the new season with Son of a Southern Chef: Cook With Soul, our December 2019 pick (and a great gift idea for the foodie on your list!). Real Food Media friend, changemaker, and cookbook author extraordinaire Bryant Terry gave this ringing endorsement, and we wholeheartedly agree:

Imagine if Prince wrote a cookbook while channeling the spirit of 7,000 West African, Caribbean, and Southern grandmothers with photography by David LaChapelle and art direction by Tyler the Creator. Enter Lazarus Lynch. Son of a Southern Chef is a magical cookbook filled with all the contradictions you’d expect from a culinary (and musical) virtuoso—it’s avant-garde yet grounded in tradition, hood yet haute, mischievous yet earnest in its intent to push the boundaries of how we imagine Black food. This cookbook is dripping with all the swag and creativity that fans have loved since Lynch came on the scene in 2014, and he truly is the Rockstar Chef we’ve all been waiting for.

So join us as we start eating our way through some revolutionary cookbooks—and make sure to check out the rich, three-year archive of Real Food Reads book selections and podcasts.

With hungry minds (and bellies),

Tiffani and Tanya