Whether it’s a food memoir, a collection of essays or a nice novel, a great food book entertains me on several levels. My appetite is piqued, I learn something, I appreciate all the hard work that goes into a meal or a restaurant or a career and sometimes I’m even inspired to get in the kitchen.
Some are so wonderful I have read them more than once.
Often, a good food book helps in researching for an article or review.
To that point when I was reviewing an Indian restaurant in Tucson, I decided to reread “The Hundred-Foot Journey” by Richard C. Morais and “Climbing the Mango Trees” by Madhur Jaffrey. The first is a delightful little novel that was turned into a movie (which I confess I have yet to see.) The other is a memoir by the renowned cookbook writer/actress. Both are delicious books that made my crave Indian food in all its forms.
Laurie Colwin is one of the reasons I am a food writer. She wrote essays for many years for ‘Gourmet Magazine’ and when she died way too early my heart broke. I was thrilled to find to collections of her essays in “Home Cooking” and “More Home Cooking” and I found comfort in knowing that I can pick a copy of either whenever I wanted to spend some time with this soulful writer.
Of course, Ruth Reichl is on the reread list. Of all her books, I like her first, “Tender at the Bone” the best. Reichl was editor at ‘Gourmet Magazine‘ for many years but this book is about her early life and the beginnings of her food career/
Another great memoir is Gabrielle Hamilton’s “Blood, Bones & Butter.” The next time I’m in New York, I plan on eating at her restaurant, Prune on the quality of this book alone.
Michael Ruhlman is another favorite. His “The Making of a Chef” chronicles his time at The Culinary Institute of America. He’s not a chef, but he thinks like one. He has several chef centric books and a couple of cookbooks, all of which are great reads.
Currently I’m rereading “The Food of Love” by Anthony Capella. The story centers on a Roman chef named Bruno, who falls in love with a young American student named Laura. It’s a take on the Cyrano story as poor hapless Bruno cooks sumptuous meals for his love in order to help his friend seduce her. Not only do the food descriptions get me all hot, but this is one sex scenes make Fifty Shades look cheap and tawdry.
I’m sure there are many more to include. But that’s for another post.