The 5 Cookbooks for Food-Loving Feminists

I’ve been on a bit of a personal food journey for the past few years. Many hours and many more dollars have been spent introducing myself to delicious food in various countries and with various price tags, while also increasing my personal repertoire of exciting, home-cooked recipes. This venture has lead to lengthy conversations with friends about trickle-down food culture, the inaccessibility of fine dining, and the skyrocketing price of organic produce. Sadly, there’s a lot to say about how foodie culture leaves women out and hurts low-income people.

Recently, TIME magazine's "13 Gods of Food" list of influential food professionals had notably few women (four of 13), none of whom were chefs. At Bitch magazine, Soleil Ho’s article on food gentrification argues that promoting trendy ingredients by calling them “super-foods” drives up the prices, making them virtually unavailable to low-income families. Unfortunately, most of the people on SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) in America are women. I, for one, am not interested in being a foodie at the expense of low-income women. So you see? It’s complicated.

How, you may be wondering, can socially-conscious food lovers continue enjoying the latest delectable food crazes AND support populations that food culture often marginalizes? Support organizations and people doing great things in the food world! For those of us who want to feed our faces without cramping our feminist style, here are 5 radical, fun cookbooks for you to invest in. Activism never tasted so good.

'A Girl Called Jack' by Jack Monroe

25-year-old single mum Jack Monroe is making waves in the United Kingdom, where she is leading a revolution against poverty and hunger in collaboration with Oxfam, The Child Poverty Action Group, and The Trussell Trust. After struggling with a misogynist boss and the bureaucratic housing benefit system, Monroe found herself with only £10 (about $16.50) per week to feed herself and her son. This cookbook is a collection of recipes that she originally posted for free on her blog and at food banks, and she donates a portion of the proceeds. Monroe is a feisty queer feminist with a bone to pick with regressive welfare policy, and trust me…you definitely want to to try the 100 delicious, budget-friendly recipes in this book.

A Girl Called Jack , $22, Amazon

'Stir: Mixing it Up in the Italian Tradition' by Barbara Lynch

Barbara Lynch has long been regarded as a force to be reckoned with in the fine dining world. Lynch grew up in what she calls a “working-class town bordering Boston proper,” and now owns some of Boston’s best restaurants. She’s a fierce advocate for fast-food workers and lobbied for higher wages at Occupy in New York. This James Beard award winning chef is now working closely with Rene Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen (widely regarded as the best restaurant in the world) and the team behind MAD Foodcamp, an annual brainstorming session attended by some of the world’s most influential food minds. Read her words, cook her food, and support the ray of light that is Lynch in the often machismo world of cooking.

Stir: Mixing it Up in the Italian Tradition , $12, Amazon

'The Best of Bloodroot' (Volumes 1 and 2) by Selma Miriam and Noel Furie

In the beautiful New England town of Bridgeport, CT lies the self-identified feminist restaurant Bloodroot. The restaurant, which boasts vegan and vegetarian menu items that the New York Times calls “legendary,” hosts activists from all over the region in a space decorated with women’s and and animal rights posters. Pick your favorite recipe from either of the books, open a bottle of spicy wine and have friends over to yell at Fox News pundits on TV. It’s almost like you’re there.

The Best of Bloodroot Volume 1, $25, Amazon | The Best of Bloodroot Volume 2, $14, Amazon

'The Arcadia Mobile Market Seasonal Cookbook' by Juju Harris

Juju Harris, who formerly fed herself and her son with WIC (Women, Infants and Children) benefits, wrote this cookbook in collaboration with the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture near Washington DC. Harris is the Center’s culinary educator and SNAP outreach coordinator. Families that frequent the Center’s Mobile Market will receive free copies of this gorgeous cookbook, which is chock full of easy, nutritious recipes calling for seasonal ingredients that are readily available to families receiving SNAP benefits. If you are not one of these families, your purchase supports Harris’ important work.

The Arcadia Mobile Market Seasonal Cookbook, $20, Arcadia Mobile Market

'Share: The Cookbook that Celebrates Our Common Humanity' from Women for Women International

Every contributor to this recipe collection is actively engaged in humanitarian work in one of the eight countries in which Women for Women works. “What we choose to eat, and how we choose to prepare it, can also generate employment, wealth and economic stability for others.” Right on!

As you’d expect, proceeds go to empower women internationally. What you may NOT expect is that the book features recipes from Alice Waters (bow down bitches), Annie Lennox, Mia Farrow, Rene Redzepi, Meryl Streep, and Ben and Jerry.

Share: The Cookbook that Celebrates Our Common Humanity, $30, Amazon

Want more? Check these out!

Barefoot and in the Kitchen by Ashley Rowe: Vegan recipes with “ingredients available to folks everywhere not just those with access to fancy health food stores”

Celebrating Our Mothers’ Kitchens by National Council of Negro Women (NCNW): A collection of African-American heritage recipes, with a portion of proceeds benefiting NCNW.

Don’t Assume I Don’t Cook by National Organization for Women: A collection of recipes, stories and photos from National Organization for Women members.