7 Books for Food Lovers

Advice from top female chefs; backstage scoop from the Food Network; secrets of candymaking—and more

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Julia Child Rules: Lessons on Savoring Life

by Karen Karbo; Skirt! Books


“Never marry someone until you’ve driven cross-country with him in a car without a radio,” warns Karen Karbo’s father at the start of the book. That’s exactly what Julia McWilliams and Paul Child are doing when we meet them in the summer of 1946. Karbo narrates as Julia discovers foreign cities and recipes, learns that Pepperidge Farm Goldfish make perfectly suitable hors d’oeuvres and realizes that she can master more than just French cooking.


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Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

by Samira Kawash; Faber & Faber


Take a trip back in time as Kawash chronicles America’s rocky relationship with candy. One surprise: When first introduced, after the Industrial Revolution, it was seen as a wholesome food rather than something fattening and unhealthy. Kawash presents the facts in a way that will neither scare you into swearing off candy nor convince you to stock up on Hershey’s bars. The author’s own attitude: She believes in tasty, nutritious meals, served with a small handful of jellybeans.


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Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste

by Luke Barr; Clarkson Potter


Luke Barr, the grandnephew of foodwriting legend M.F.K. Fisher, invites you to pull up a chair as Fisher, Julia Child, Simone Beck, James Beard, Judith Jones and Richard Olney discuss the future of food in America. Barr combines extensive research, interviews, letters and journal entries by the major players to recreate their December 1970 gathering in the south of France—a culinary summit conference that still influences our approach to food today. 


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Skirt Steak: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat and Staying in the Kitchen

by Charlotte Druckman; Chronicle Books


Hear more than 70 influential female voices on what it’s really like to work in a restaurant kitchen. One woman recalls being burned by fish stock but waiting until after closing time to go to the hospital so she wouldn’t “seem like a woman” in her coworkers’ eyes. Also included: the contributors’ least favorite interview questions (“Do women cook differently than men?”) and their projections on where we go from here.


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From Scratch: Inside the Food Network

by Allen Salkin; Putnam


Did you know that Rachael Ray nearly burned Emeril Lagasse’s set to the ground during her first screen test? Have you ever wondered what they do when chocolate mousse refuses to get fluffy? Salkin answers all of your pressing questions as he chronicles the history of a network that found success despite an executive’s early belief that a 24-hour food channel was “the worst idea I ever heard.” 


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Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites

by Kate Christensen; Doubleday


Beginning with a vivid memory of the first time she saw her father hit her mother (which took place as she and her sister were finishing a breakfast of soft-boiled eggs and buttered toast), Christensen, the author of six novels, explores her experience with food and the way it always seems to reveal the state of her life. This nonfiction book, her first, was born of her popular blog, katechristensen.wordpress.com.


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Anything that Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture

by Dana Goodyear; Riverhead


Think you have an iron stomach? You may reconsider as you read about Goodyear consuming stinkbugs, ant pupae, frog fallopian tubes, hornless goat and chicken feet, and more. It’s all in an effort to explore the implications of what we eat and the ever-changing definition of a “normal” American diet. Her explorations inevitably raise the question: What will we eat next?


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First Published Fri, 2013-11-22 18:31

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