17 Food-Themed Books You'll Want to Eat Up

Take a bite out of these yummy reads.
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Georgia’s Kitchen by Jenny Nelson

What’s the next stop after a broken heart and a career disaster? Tuscany, of course. In this Under the Tuscan Sun-esque novel, Georgia Gray heads to Italy, where the change of scenery opens the doors to discovery-especially in the kitchen. The question is: Will she stay in Tuscany and continue her newfound life, or return to New York to redeem her reputation? Available on Amazon.com

Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowering Bowl by David Wondrich

"This book is about Punch," writes Wondrich. "And by ‘Punch,’ I don’t mean the stuff sluiced around at fraternity mixers . . . ." Turns out Punch, a drink Wondrich reveres as some do wine or martinis, is serious business that dates back to the 1500s (in written records, anyway). And so the author sets about chronicling the many incarnations of everyone’s favorite party drink (Charles Dickens and the Plymouth Pilgrims to name a few) with wry humor. Better yet, he details old recipes-some from over a hundred years ago-and offers suggestions for modern updates. Buy it at Amazon.com

Hungry For Happiness by James Villas

Loretta Crawford is unlucky in love and bothered by her curvy bod. In this novel, Loretta turns her passion for delicious Southern food into a successful catering business, slims down, and finds romance-but not without a few bumps along the way. Watch for the full-flavored "Recipes from Loretta’s Kitchen" at the end of the book. Buy it at Amazon.com

What the Great Ate by Matthew Jacob and Mark Jacob

According to this curious history of food and fame, serious burns from a beef fondue accident almost halted Dustin Hoffman’s career; Pythagoras harbored a strong hatred for fava beans; and Ronald Reagan was obsessed with the jelly beans that helped him quit smoking. In this funny compendium of oddities, the authors Jacob remind us that food is always a common denominator. Available on Amazon.com

The Love Goddess’ Cooking School by Melissa Senate

In this novel about an unlikely chef, Holly Maguire inherits a cooking school from her late grandmother. Holly welcomes a small, eclectic group of students-from a 12-year-old to a heartbroken divorcee-into her kitchen and they cook their way through her grandmother’s cookbook. The stories of each character intertwine as they chop, simmer and stir their way to happiness.

Coffee Talk by Morton Satin

"Why does coffee make the world seem right?" Satin answers his own question and more in this ode to the mighty bean, which details the origins of java as well as its current corporate culture. And if this book has you thirsty for a cup of joe, turn to Satin’s step-by-step guide for brewing the perfect, piping hot cup of espresso. Buy it at Barnesandnoble.com

Peace Meals by Anna Badkhen

War reporter Badkhen details her tour through Russia, Africa, Iraq and Israel where a good meal offers priceless moments of tranquility-and unexpected friendships-amidst much conflict. Buy it at Amazon.com

Edible Stories by Mark Kurlansky

Divided into 16 parts, Edible Stories looks at the ways food brings people together or tears them apart. Through a melting pot of different cultural flavors and dishes-bean curd, hot dogs, Orangina and sea salt-he examines how food can inspire tradition and bring about change. Available on Amazon.com

Food Heroes by Georgia Pellegrini

Pellegrini tells 16 colorful stories of people around the globe who are committed to artisanal food-that is, handmade, unprocessed edibles made with the highest quality ingredients. In Paris, Jon Rowley has a Hemingway-inspired "oyster moment" and becomes a fish connoisseur; and Rhoda Adams makes magical tamales in Lake Village, Arkansas. Each story ends with recipes-try out Steven Wallace’s Hot Hot Chocolate or David Langford‘s homemade Potato Gnocchi. Available on Amazon.com

Strangers At the Feast by Jennifer Vanderbes

For the Olsens, the clan at the center of this food-themed novel, Thanksgiving 2007 begins as a tense affair as family feuds are swept under the rug. But when two kids from the projects commit a blood-soaked crime that disrupts the holiday, the Olsens forget their differences and come together to keep each other safe. Available on Amazon.com

Eating For Beginners: An Education In the Pleasures of Food From Chefs, Farmers, and One Picky Kid by Melanie Rehak

When Rehak realizes she has too many unanswered questions about food-what to buy at the store, what to feed her son, why organic is important-she decides to immerse herself in the world of food production. Rehak joins the staff of a locally supplied restaurant called applewood, learns their cooking methods and gets her hands dirty while she soaks up knowledge as a farmhand. As she completes her education, the reader learns important food lessons along with her. Available on Amazon.com

Cakewalk: A Memoir by Kate Moses

Throughout her difficult childhood, her awkward adolescent years and the end of her first marriage, Moses has had one constant in her life: sweets. She made chocolate chip cookies for the "weirdo kids" in junior high, baked brownies that M.F.K. Fischer proclaimed "delicious," and was consoled post-divorce by her buddy Alicia’s blondies. In a brilliantly witty tone Kate shares that her life isn’t perfect, but time spent making-and eating-sweet treats certainly is. Available on Amazon.com

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

In this novel, Chef Hassan Haji journeys from Mumbai to France after an untimely death in his family. The Hajis leave India and settle in Lumiére, a small town in the French Alps. The Hajis introduces the locals to rich Indian flavors with the opening of their restaurant, and experiences comical encounters in a culture entirely different from theirs. Inspired by the family business and his native cooking, Haji moves to Paris to open an upscale restaurant, where he makes new discoveries of his own about his life, culture, and food. Available on Amazon.com

Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery

Monsieur Pierre Arthens, once a ruthless (but also the best) food critic in Paris, is dying. But before he takes his last breath, he’s determined to find the one flavor that will bring him the ultimate euphoria, a flavor he has not yet tried. This novel, by the author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, is told from Arthens’s self-important perspective, as well as the voices of family, former flames and even a cat (seriously), whose description of his master may also be the truest. Available on Amazon.com

Empty Pleasures by Carolyn de la Peña

Empty Pleasures chronicles the history of artificial sweeteners, from their saccharin origins to the way they have affected diets today. De la Peña also examines how this additive has paved the way for diet sweets-think saccharin, NutraSweet and Splenda-that aren’t necessarily leading to healthy eating habits. Available on Amazon.com

Starting From Scratch by Susan Gilbert-Collins

After her mother’s death, protagonist Olivia Tschetter cannot bring herself to leave the family kitchen and return to graduate school-instead she seeks comfort in a love of cooking, which she and her mother shared. To deflect the concerns of her family, she starts working at the local Meals on Wheels, where she uncovers a family secret. As the state of her family and her life changes, Olivia finds a new, stronger voice in the aftermath of tragedy. Available on Amazon.com

Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food by Colman Andrews

Restaurateur Ferran Adrià has changed the way people think of food and making a reservation: His El Bulli restaurant in Spain seats only 8,000 people each year, or less than 25 per day. "Since Ferran, every chef has felt free to create new things," Milanese chef Carlo Cracco says. A true innovator, Ferran is known for combining unlikely ingredients like sake and sorbet, coco and caviar. This book details Ferran’s genius and his influence over the way people experience food. Available on Amazon.com *FOR THE BEST FALL BOOKS, CLICK HERE.*

First Published Tue, 2010-09-21 11:18

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