These books cleverly combine two of my favorite genres: memoir and food writing. These books aren't about just food, but tell amazing stories through food. Whether you're looking for funny or thought-provoking, around the world or close to home, relaxing or flat-out intense, there's something here for you.
Wizenberg is one of the original food bloggers, and her brand of intimate, chatty conversation—mixed with reliable recipes—works well in long form. If you’re new to her work, you may enjoy starting with her first book A Homemade Life, in which, among other events, she meets and marries her husband Brandon after he contacts her through her blog. In this sequel-of-sorts, Brandon and a somewhat reluctant Molly have their first "baby": a pizza place named Delancey. In her familiar style, Wizenberg reflects on the messy and marvelous muddle that is her young marriage, and her younger restaurant, and shares recipes for the simple, delicious food that chefs like to eat at home. More info →
When Ruth Reichl takes the plum job of New York Times food critic, she’s determined to let ordinary diners know what the city’s great restaurants are really like. What's so hard about that? But she soon discovers that the Times food critic is no ordinary diner: her headshot adorns the wall of every kitchen in the city so the staff can spot her—and wow her. Not you. So Reichl goes undercover, enlisting the help of an old theater friend to become a sultry blond, a gregarious redhead, and a tweedy brunette, each with her own backstory. Her mission: to experience the city's great restaurants as just another diner. A fascinating read for any foodie, or student of human nature. More info →
If you've ever daydreamed about what it might be like to attend culinary school, wonder no longer: you can vicariously experience the training of a top-tier chef through the eyes of journalist Ruhlman, who talked his way into the CIA because he thought the resulting experience would make for a good book. He was right. Ruhlman finds the CIA to be a world of imposing personalities, towering egos, high drama, and amazing food. You'd never guess that the making of a brown sauce, the unmolding of a terrine, or the trussing of a chicken could be occasions for high drama, but in Ruhlman's hands, these culinary adventures read like the pages of a spy thriller. The first of a trilogy. More info →
If you're the type that tends to over-romanticize the City of Lights, let David Lebovitz snap you back to reality. As an American expat who chose to move to France (but didn't feel like he really belonged until the day he put on dress pants and a freshly ironed shirt to take out the trash), he loves Paris—of course he does—but he also has no qualms about exposing the ridiculous, baffling, and frustrating side of le France. You'll be inspired to make (or at least eat) French favorites like warm goat cheese salad, chocolate mousse, and macarons. For those who have lived in Paris, been to Paris, or just want a good laugh. More info →
Imagine the best of the Food Network, with a lot more girl talk mixed in. Niequist's food writing will make your mouth water, but this book isn't just about the food. Her recipes are vehicles—to conversation, community, and all good things that happen when people gather around the table. Bread and Wine contains some great-looking recipes (Green Well salad, Michigan blueberry crisp, magical white bean soup) that will inspire you to get cooking. The short chapters make this perfect summer reading. Just clear your calendar for that dinner party you'll want to throw when you're finished with it. More info →