The subject of food carries us far afield. We can start with the preparation of meals, attention to recipes and the art of cooking, and the act of eating in the company of others. Still in the kitchen or dining room we are thinking about food and good health, diets and exercise, hunger and eating disorders, the growth of vegetarianism and the slow food movement, the continuing appeal of fast food, and the increasing scares over tainted foods. And then we move out beyond our homes to the suffering of animals in factory farms, underpaid migrant workers picking crops, the toxins sprayed on plants, and the excesses of global corporations involved in genetic control of seeds.

Holly Hughes serves as editor of Best Food Writing 2011 and the fare here is quite appealing. The eclectic selections are organized into sections on Foodways, Home Cooking, Stocking the Pantry, Food Fights, Guilty Pleasures, Someone's in the Kitchen, and Personal Tastes. Our favorite essays were "A Fig by Any Other Name" by Gary Paul Nabhan; "How to Become an Intuitive Cook" by Daniel Duane; "Life in a Food Desert" by Jill Wendholt Silva; and "On Toast" by Michael Procopio.