Celebrity Picks: Gail Simmons' Favorite Reads of 2017

Gail Simmons_creditGuerinBlaskTop Chef judge Gail Simmons gets to eat a lot of different things from a lot of different places. When she decided on the topic of her first cookbook, she chose the foods of the world that she loved and learned to reproduce in her own kitchen. Bringing It Home takes Simmons' favorite meals and translates them into recipes you can use in your own home, aided by Simmons' tips and tricks.

Despite her on-the-run schedule, Simmons makes time to read. See her book choices below, and look here for more authors' favorites.


As life gets busier and time more precious, I find reading a book (as opposed to the news or social media) to be the ultimate luxury. Books not only provide us with an escape from our daily stresses, but help expand our world view, evoke empathy, inspire adventure and allow us all to connect with the vast possibilities of human experience—past, present and future. Here, a few of my favorites read in 2017:

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We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - A friend gave me this short but powerful essay for Mother’s Day and I devoured it immediately. Chimananda simply and clearly navigates and defines feminism in a way that is more relevant than ever. Her stories are universal and her language is thoughtful and timeless. I can’t wait for my daughter to be able read it (she’s 3.5!).
 

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The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom - This epic novel, set in rural Virginia before the Civil War, tackles issues of race, class and the definition of family in such a remarkable way that it forced me to reexamine what I thought I knew about American history. It is one of the most moving and layered narratives I have had the pleasure of reading in a very long time.
 

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Feed the Resistance: Recipes and Ideas for Getting Involved by Julia Turshen - Friend, author and food-obsessive, Julia Turshen has spent the last year putting her knowledge of cooking into direct action, sustaining and empowering her community for greater good. Her newest book frames cooking for those who need it most, as well as for those who are too busy leading the charge for change in these uncertain times, as an act of activism in itself and encourages us all to follow suit. Packed with hearty, thoughtful recipes meant to sustain a crowd, as well as essays from some of the most interesting voices working towards social justice today, I find reading and cooking from this book deliciously satisfying, and a great reminder of how food touches every corner of our lives, both personal and political.
 
Photo credit: Guerin Blask
 

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