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Nov 25, 2006 08:17 PM

Good books with food as a key element?

I picked up a used copy of Bourdain's "A Cook's Tour" yesterday, and realised that I've read very few books relating to food. Have read "Kitchen Confidential", and even Tom Robbins' "Jitterbug Perfume" was great, with beets playing a key role. I've seen posts about films related to food, and the two that come to my mind first are "Big Night" and "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman".
Any recommendations for great books about food? Fiction or non-fiction, just so's they're well written and enjoyable reads. Thanks.

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  1. EXB, Do not miss Jeffrey Steingarten's "The Man Who Ate Everyting". You'll learn a lot whenever you're not laughing out loud. A terrific read.

    1. I absolutely love the novel "Stanley Park" by Timothy Taylor.

      1. I like the mysteries by Diane Mott Davidson. And some of the recipes are terrific (I haven't tried them all).

        3 Replies
        1. re: piccola

          Hey Piccola,
          I like Diane Mott Davudson's books too. I also like Tamar Myers' line of "Pennsylvania Dutch Mysteries" all have recipes and have titles that are word plays on common phrases, like:
          The Hand That Rocks The Ladle
          Eat, Drink, and Be Wary
          Funny mysteries with recipes, what more could you ask for...LOL

          1. re: twh1475

            If you like Diane Mott Davidson (cozy mysteries with recipes), try Katherine Page Hall (The Body in the ____). Another caterer/sleuth. (I might be partial because the protagonist's fictional town would be near me in the Boston 'burbs, and she goes to real restaurants.)

            Don't forget Steingarten's other book, "It Must Have Been Something I Ate."

            1. re: momjamin

              Thanks for the suggestions. I guess that's why I like Tamar Myers they all take place in Lanacaster County (Amish country). I live an hour away, and worked for 10 years in the area. I'll check out your suggestions on my next stop at the bookstore.

          1. I second the vote for Heat. I have been on a food writing binge lately (reading not writing it myself). I loved Calvin Trillins latest book, Gael Green autobiography was okay. I also read Madhur Jaffery's latest about her childhood in India, it is not exactly about food per se but food plays an important role in the stories about her family.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sweetie

              I'd be interested to hear more about the Madhur Jaffrey book, I'm thinking of asking for it for Christmas...

              1. re: Anne H

                As I mentioned it is not exclusively about food, but there are interesting stories, insight into what kinf of person she is. There are also recipes at the end of the book. Recipies like the kind of kabobs that her father loved, her grandmother's recipe for cheese cauliflower. Some of the stories are from articles she has written in the past, so you may have read them before.