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The Border - Don Winslow

Metropolis - Philip Kerr

The Paris Diversion - Chris Pavone

The Network - Jason Elliott

Our Man Down In Havana - Christopher Hull

Mission To Paris - Alan Furst

A Dangerous Man - Robert Crais

Resurrections - Jeffrey Meyers

Spy Games - Adam Brookes

Podcast Favorites

   In this episode of the entertraining Books of the Year podcast, Simon Mayo and Matt Williams ask Lee Child about his legendary coffee consumption, at my request. 

@booksoftheyear, @simonmayo

I'll listen to Layne Norton discuss and argue passionately about nutrition any day. Mark Bell does a great job moderating an engaging conversation between Norton and Shawn Baker about health, fitness, food and nutrition. Science wins! @marksmellybell, @BioLane

Shane Whaley and David Craggs talk spy and espionage fiction, writing, politics and books with the outspoken, brilliant writer, Charles Cumming.

@Spybrary, @CharlesCumming

Malcolm Gladwell digs deep into the one song Elvis Presley couldn't consistently sing, "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" This episode is a gripping, utterly fascinating discussion of how Elvis recorded, sang live, and interpreted his life through music. @Gladwell

« Beatles vs. Stones by John McMillian | Main | Required Reading: Grain Brain; The Calorie Myth; Death By Food Pyramid »

It Always Comes Down to Food

The Coconut Oil Miracle, 5th edition, by Bruce Fife

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton

Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient by Michael Ruhlman (Little, Brown) $40

The Ancestral Table: Traditional Recipes For a Paleo Lifestyle by Russ Crandall

The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Diseases and Heal Your Body by Sarah Ballantyne


Egg by Michael Ruhlman

Michael Ruhlman is one of my favorite food writers, notably his reference work (see my writeup of Ruhlman’s Twenty last year). Egg explores everything logically possible in the kitchen using the mighty egg. Dishes, sauces, and more than 100 recipes make Egg one of the new essentials for your kitchen library. Wonderful photographs by Donna Turner Ruhlman help set Egg apart from most other books devoted to a single food. Beautiful, useful and worthy of premier shelf space.

Little, Brown & Co.


The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne


I’m tired of Paleo books, notably those devoted to Paleo junk food. Ballantyne avoids this route, instead concentrating on health and lifestyle utilizing a Paleo approach. Using understandable science, relating many autoimmune diseases to decisions people make about what they put into their bodies, is the truly effective message here. This is an area worthy of more exploration, and The Paleo Approach is an effective big first step.

Author Ballantyne has positioned The Paleo Approach as a book you may end up lending your doctor. Can you imagine that relationship and how effective it could be? 

Victory Belt Publishing


Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton


Hamilton’s memoir of growing up in New York kitchens, how the restaurant world pulled her from a wayward path, and her awakening love of food is compelling reading. Blood, Bones & Butter is written so well I could feel her growing passion for food. It’s almost like my taste buds were following along. I realize I’m a sucker for up-close, personal cooking histories; the irony isn’t lost on me as I read about food more than I actually cook. Hamilton has earned a place in the top of the line food memoirs. She’s gritty, she’s real, and she writes and cooks from the heart. Nicely done.

Random House,


The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife


I’m an advocate of coconut oil in most logical ways. I cook with it, add it to protein shakes and my coffee (yup, along with grass-fed butter!), have used it on my skin. One could make a strong case that I feel coconut oil is a significant benefit to my life. Clearly, so does author Fife; this is the fifth edition of his leading-edge coconut oil work. 

Most of you reading my site are familiar with the health benefits and easy daily uses of coconut oil. Beyond that, in the past year or I’ve been seeing reports and studies advocating coconut oil use in an effort to combat Alzheimer’s. Fife is on top of this recent research, and incorporates it into this new edition. 

I won’t argue whether the word “miracle” overstates the benefits of coconut oil. I’m standing side-by-side with Bruce Fife in agreement that this wonderful food enhances the quality of life and can be a weapon in the fight against so many of the diseases riddling our society today.

 Avery Publishing,


The Ancestral Table by Russ Crandall

Here’s a Paleo-themed book, replete with appealing recipes (each fitting on one page - thank you) that makes sense to me. Author Crandall’s story is compelling; he found his way to Paleo after immense discouragement with the standard medical community’s response to serious illnesses in his 20s. Research and trial-and-error showed him that a gluten-free, nutrient-rich diet quickly resolved most of his medical issues. Thanks for nothing, doc! 

I’m so glad Crandall figured out the “nutrient-rich” portion of this equation. In The Ancestral Table he sets out a nice argument for why he includes rice, potatoes and dairy in his food plan. Most hardcore Paleo people consider these foods forbidden; I certainly do not, and neither does Crandall. 

Context comes to mind when reading The Ancestral Table. This isn’t a “take advantage of a hot theme” effort. This man’s life and health and discoveries are front and center, the true theme. His message is strong and compelling, and the story woven throughout makes The Ancestral Table special. First class.

Victory Belt Publishing,

References (2)

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    Stuff I Like, Nutrition, CrossFit, Paleo, Books - Books and Music - It Always Comes Down to Food
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    Stuff I Like, Nutrition, CrossFit, Paleo, Books - Books and Music - It Always Comes Down to Food

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