Woohoo! Breezy holidays, here we come! With more time on your hands, you’ll finally be able to get nose-deep into a decently hefty book or recipe, so here are some of our fave food books as recommended from Youth Food Movement friends and fam. Snuggle up to one of these in the sunshine, or snap one up for your food bestie.


A Delicious Cooking Revolution

Alice Waters
From the legendary Chez Panisse, Alice Waters gives you the delicious foundations to cook well, simply. Even those who love cooking will have plenty to bookmark though, whether it’s little hints or quotes that you want to stick to your kitchen wall.

Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix

Mark Bittman
Looking to break out from following recipes, but still want some guidance on how to put together something amazing? Starting with an ingredient that you might need to use, Bittman shows you different techniques and ingredient swaps to steer you without being restrictive.

Marinating on Meat

Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat

Philip Lymbery
If you’ve ever wondered what the big deal is with factory farming, let Farmageddon blow you away a bit and have you re-think meat at every meal. Looking into the gory details of why meat is such a massive contributor to so many ecological crises, Farmageddon will provide plenty of extra fodder for your New Year’s resolution to dial down on the bacon.

Eating Animals

Jonathan Saffran Foer
Much like Farmageddon, Eating Animals will fill you in on many of the disturbing aspects of factory farming – but it also looks at some of the better ways meat can be farmed too.

Food & Community

The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement

Nick Saul, Andrea Curtis
Nick Saul brings you along his journey of transforming a food bank to a community and movement for food justice with dignity. You will totally rethink the way food charity should work after this!

Food politics

Hungry Man in a Greedy World: How (Almost) Everything You Thought You Knew About Food Is Wrong

Jay Reyner
Wait, what?! That’s what you’ll find yourself saying mentally (and possibly out loud) as you read through one of the UK’s most influential food and drink writers. Rather than shying away from the complexity of the food system and its potential fixes, Reyner tackles them head on (and may make you squirm a little as he does it).


The Permaculture Home Garden

Linda Woodrow
For an easy-to-read, hands-on overview of permaculture that will have you itching to get outside, this book is a godsend. In place of technical jargon, there are plenty of diagrams to help newbie gardeners get set up and growing.


Produce to Platter: Geelong and Surrounding Regions or Mornington Peninsula

George Jonette & Daniele Wilton
A mother-and-daughter team take us to meet the producers and culture behind the delectable plate, and the chefs in the region too. Interwoven with regional stories and history, this will have you planning your next trip away in no time.

Love and Hunger

Charlotte Woods
Mixing memoirs and cooking inspiration, this is the perfect book to curl up in a sunny spot these holidays, not too far from the kitchen so you can bring out the chopping board when that “omg-ok-I-need-to-make-this-now” moment strikes.

It Tastes Better

Kylie Kwong
Taking us around Australia and into her kitchen, this cookbook is peppered with stories about Kylie’s travels to meet some of the producers and providores who are farming holistically. The recipes are perfect holiday projects, while the stories and incredible images will make you feel all the smiles.

The Edible Balcony

Indira Naidoo
It’s hard to really appreciate the value of the food until you’ve grown some yourself, but not everyone has the luxury of a backyard. Fortunately, Indira Naidoo proves you don’t actually need one. With recipes and guidance based on setting up her own balcony haven, this is an honest, funny and beautiful book to pore over and cook from. Her latest book The Edible City also looks at how gardens are popping up all throughout the city to connect whole communities with their food.

The Clever Cook ebook

Sustainable Table
Cooking smarter is so much more than being eco-friendly in this new ebook from Sustainable Table. Beyond the usual recipes you’d find, this is a guide full of tips from buying to storing and prepping food for more creative cooking that’s also good for you and your tastebuds.


Sarah Wilson
Imagine making a meal out of “scraps” that’s so delicious you can serve it when your friends come around. All the kudos points. So much #wastenot instagram potential. Simplicious is awesome not just for making our cooking less wasteful, but real and better for us (plus the world of course).

On eating thoughtfully

In Defense of Food

Michael Pollan
Pretty much any Michael Pollan book is a bit of a winner in our book, but In Defense of Food is brilliant for the simplicity of its message that cuts through the clutter of eating advice that’s constantly contradicting itself.

The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter

Peter Singer and Jim Mason
“You can be ethical without being fanatical,” and this classic is a guide to helping you navigate that tricky line. Singer and Mason manage to guide you without being preachy or judgmental – which is just what’s needed for something as complicated and multi-faceted as ethical eating.

What to Eat

Marion Nestle
If you’ve ever associated “nutrition” with food you’d rather feed to the dog under the table, Marion Nestle will return a little joy to eating healthily while also giving you a big-picture view of why you might be struggling.

The Third Plate

Dan Barber
Who knew chefs could be such awesome storytellers? Dan Barber introduces us to some real characters from around the world to discover paradigm-shifting ways of farming for flavour and diversity. Along the way he never stops asking questions, and the process of answering them is where these characters really come to life.

Farming and agriculture

The One Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming

Masanobu Fukuoka
Bringing you a step closer to the farm (yet also beyond it) is Fukuoka’s nature-driven approach to agriculture. This classic shows how it’s possible to work with nature not just to produce better food, but surprisingly, make farming easier too.

Folks This Ain’t Normal

Joel Salatin
For as many laughs as life-changing moments, Joel Salatin never fails to deliver. Plus we love that he’s so clearly one of those live-to-eat farmers that manages to make us want to embrace farm life like a big warm hug.

Animal, Vegetable Miracle

Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp
Ever wondered what it would be like to eat only local? This family gives it a damn good go, with all the charm and wit you’d expect from a novelist who knows how to share a good story.

Ok bookworm, still looking for more great reads? Check out twenty more on Civil Eats.

Image: Zo Zhou

Youth Food Movement

Youth Food Movement

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