Earlier this week, I participated in a panel discussion at the Princeton Public Library with a couple of other food bloggers – Sue Gordon and Phyllis Knight and Pat Tanner who writes about food and restaurants for the The Princeton Packet, New Jersey Life Magazine.com and U.S. 1. We talked about the local restaurant scene – everything from special occasion to ethnic eateries, as well as our favorite food blogs and places to shop for ingredients. We also talked about foodie movies and books – not cookbooks, (although some of these books do sprinkle in recipes here and there), but books where food plays a significant role in the narrative. Here is my list of favorite foodie books. What about you? I’m sure there are dozens more that I haven’t read that you can recommend. Leave a comment and let us all know. Books for Foodies:
- A Homemade Life – by Molly Wizenberg – A tender account of a young woman’s coming of age in Paris and the U.S., falling in love, losing her father, and how food memories shaped her as an adult.
- The Sweet Life in Paris– a hilarious account of life in Paris by expat David Lebovitz, former pastry chef at Chez Panisse.
- Tender at the Bone, Garlic and Sapphires, and Comfort me with Apples, – beautifully written books by former Gourmet editor and NYTimes food critic Ruth Reichl
- My Life in France – a page-turner by Julia Child on her love affair with France and French food and her husband
- Julie and Julia – Julie Powell’s account of trudging through every recipe in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and its effect on her marriage.
- Cod by Michael Kurlansky – An unlikely topic for an entire book, but it is an interesting account of the history of cod fishing and how it sustained populations around the world.
- A Thousand Days in Venice – Marlena DeBlasi’s real life story of meeting a Venetian man, his pursuit of her in the U.S., and her giving up her catering business and life in the U.S. several months later to move with him to Venice.
- Heat by Bill Buford – New Yorker writer tells all about cooking in Mario Batali’s kitchen and travels to Italy to further his culinary education. The chapter about buying and slaughtering a pig in his New York City kitchen is worth the price of the book alone.
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver – A really good read and valuable lessons by a very thoughtful writer who details how her family either grew or purchased only locally-grown food for a year.
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Michael Pollan traces four meals back to their origins, including a lunch at McDonalds. It may convert you to vegetarianism and have you giving up corn.
- Stalking the Wild Asparagus – Written by Euell Gibbons decades ago and describes the different kinds of food available for free just by foraging.
- Amarcord – Italian cooking doyen Marcella Hazan’s tale of growing up in Italy, finding the love of her life and becoming a cooking teacher and cookbook author.
- The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken – Laura Schenone – A quest for a recipe and family through the Ligurian region of Italy. It will have you rushing to Italy (or at least to the kitchen to make ravioli).
- Crazy In The Kitchen –Foods, Feuds and Forgiveness in an Italian-American family – A raw and honest memoir that reveals how food, or the absence of home cooking, influenced several generations of her family.
- Eat, Memory – Great Writers at the Table – A collection of essays from the New York Times about food
- Food and Feasting In Art – A glorious art book featuring paintings of food that I bought at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it’s published by the J.Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles
- Best Food Writing of 2009 – Edited by Holly Hughes – An annual compilation that always features really good food writing you may have read in other magazines, newspapers or blogs.
On my to-read list: “Why Italians Love to Talk About Food” by Elena Koustioukavich; “Slow-Food Nation” by Carlo Petrini.