Bite into the book
Three new books savor the history, sociology, politics and psychology of our foodstuffs.
97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement (Smithsonian) by Jane Ziegelman studies the interactions between identity and food — from sauerkraut to spaghetti — and how they affect immigrants and their new communities.
Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food (Penguin) by Paul Greenberg dives into many questions about what we eat from the sea and the effects of everything from overfishing to aquaculture on salmon, bass, tuna and cod. (The paperback may need an update chapter on oil spills.)
Steak: One Man's Search for the World's Tastiest Piece of Beef (Penguin) by Mark Schatzker is a comic, informative account of one carnivore's quest, which takes him around the world and then home to raise his own cow, then eat her.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor