Currently Reading: 50 Foods

The premise is intriguing: just 50 foods. Why those 50, specifically? Are these the best of all foods? And what’s a food, anyway? Just something you can pick or kill? That would eliminate anything processed, like bread or wine or cheese.

Whatever criteria Edward Behr used for deciding what foods to include in this 400-page celebration of foods, their varieties, selection, preparation, storage, and enjoyment, he has produced a tantalizing and satisfying read. And part of the fun of reading the book is deciding where you agree with his selections and what foods you would add or delete.

One proof that this is an idiosyncratic selection is that, out of 50 foods, Behr has seen fit to include six different cheeses. Over ten percent of the foods here are cheeses. I’m not suggesting that there’s anything wrong with that.

Behr is the founder of the food magazine The Art of Eating.