I’m not a big reader of nonfiction, but I do enjoy what are usually referred to as “food memoirs” – stories told by people in and around kitchens and/or restaurants. In the past year, many people discovered this genre via the wonderful movie “Julie and Julia” and the related books, including My Life in France by Julia Child.
I especially enjoy listening to these books, and I recently finished the highly entertaining Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford.
Bill Buford is a journalist and foodie who decided to find out what it was really like to be a chef. He gained admission to the Babbo kitchen (a restaurant owned by his idol, Mario Batali) and in earthy, amusing prose tells of his three years learning – and surviving – the high pressure world of creating amazing food. Once on this path, Buford begins traveling to places such as Italy where he is introduced to additional cooking methods and cuisine – as well as the characters who prepare them (one person is introduced as being “fond of his drink and capable of starting a fight in an empty room”). The audiobook is wonderfully read and – warning – will leave you hungry!
Another author I really enjoy reading/listening to is Ruth Reichl, who has a lyrical way with words and as former editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, as well as a restaurant critic of the The New York Times (1993-1999), knows her food. I started with Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret life of a Critic in Disguise.
We have a list with more memoirs, as well as some of the many great fiction titles that also have cooking as a central theme, called “Stirring the Plot” – take a look for more mouth-watering reading ideas!
- Shawshank Redemption November 19, 2013
- Fa La La La La, La La, La, La December 10, 2013
- Melody Makers November 29, 2013