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Favorite fiction foodie books.

Sorry if this has already been done !!! The movie post got me thinking.....recent or favorite novels about food/restaurants/chefs etc....light and fluffy reads or serious reading.

A few recents for me are:

Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor

Cooking for Mr. Right by Susan Volland

Girl Chef ....can't remember the author.

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  1. The Food of Love by Anthony Capella

    A foodie take on Cyrano de Bergerac, it falls into the light-and-fluffy category of novels.

    1 Reply
    1. re: zerlina

      Thanks for reminding me of Capella's book, Zerlina. A fun read that had me salivating for the foods of the various parts of Italy "Cyrano" traveled to.

    2. oops it's Girl Cook (not chef)...the author is Hannah McCouch

      1. Here's a good thread to check-out: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/415892

        And this one, too: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/302981

        This is a link to a two-page .pdf that has some interesting ideas: http://www.mhl.org/read/lists/food%20...

        A library list: http://www.multcolib.org/books/lists/...

        Another list: http://nancykeane.com/rl/213.htm

        Interesting list from a Tasmanian library: http://www.statelibrary.tas.gov.au/wh...

        Fiction with Recipes: http://www.webrary.org/rs/flbklists/R...

        "Edible Fiction": http://www.webrary.org/rs/flbklists/F...

        Another library list: http://www.johnsburglibrary.org/food_...

        Egads, I need to go shopping!

        1. If you are into New Orleans restaurant fiction, try Poppy Z Brite's Rickey & G-Man series (if three book is a series).I have finished LIQUOR and PRIME and loved them both, and have SOUL KITCHEN in the "to read soon" pile. Light, maybe, but not fluffy.

          1. Peter King has a nice series of mysteries, starring the "Gourmet Detective". He makes them fun by carrying the gourmet aspect over the top.

            1. Like Water for Chocolate!!! Love it!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Apple.at.chin.

                Ahhh my absolute favorite food/fiction book! And I like that it's not some BS chick-lit crap.

              2. Have to put in a plug for Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe. Not specifically about food, but it is definitely an element.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Westy

                  There is a Nero Wolfe Cookbook out there, it was hatched by the publisher wyear.ith recipes for dishes mentioned in the series. I have been looking for a reasonably priced copy for the last year.

                  1. re: Phaedrus

                    Very findable. I grab a copy out of the library whenever I want a fix. Try a dinner party based on it. A BALL.

                    1. re: Westy

                      And kick ass recipes too...the Mushroom Tarragon Chicken and Nero's Scrambled Eggs in a Double Boiler are greats.

                2. Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, by Jorge Amado. First novel I ever read that included recipes.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jlafler

                    that is a great book.. one of my favorites

                    1. re: jlafler

                      I haven't read the book, but the movie is pretty cool... Sônia Braga in her best days!!!

                    2. I really enjoyed How to Cook a Tart by Nina Killham.

                      1. This isn't a novel about food, but if Gone With the Wind doesn't have you wanting to go to an antebellum barbecue, or at least cook up something equivalent in your kitchen, then you may not have a soul. I have loved all the descriptions of oysters, pork barbecue, new potatoes, and many-layered cakes since I was thriteen. Sometimes when I'm cooking I think about whether or not Scarlett would want to eat it at Twelve Oaks.

                        Then again, I'm from the South and I am legally required to love this piece of my history.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: alysonlaurel

                          I can't imagine trying to feast after having my corset cinched into an 18" waist.

                          1. re: Sharuf

                            I know. It never made that much sense, but all those images were wonderful. The food images, I mean, not the images of Scarlett's corset being cinched.

                          2. re: alysonlaurel

                            Your mention of Gone with the Wind reminded me of Michener’s Chesapeake. Even though I read it quite a while ago, my mouth still waters recalling his description of she-crab soup and other delicacies of the area.

                            1. re: TomDel

                              Pat Conroy's "The Prince of Tides" -- many mouthwatering food scenes. Conroy's a real foodie who "wrote" a cookbook.

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                I just bought Frank Stitt's Southern Table, and Conroy wrote a beautiful introduction to it - he actually met Stitt on a plane and started talking to him when he saw the stack of cookbooks that Stitt was looking through.

                          3. A book that comes to mind that I read last year is called "Mangoes and Quince" by Carol Field. It was an OK read but I did find the food passages really inspiring. The premise is about this woman and her daughter and her husband abandons the family to travel into this strange society somewhere off in the Pacific (the setting is a few decades ago) and the woman opens a small restaurant in Amsterdam and it becomes a success. I really found the descriptions of how she goes about creating recipes and menus and the people's reactions really fascinating as a foodie.

                            1. Try this one: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. Really, really good stuff.

                              1. Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran

                                1. Enjoyed The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones, very interesting novel that incorporates a lot about traditional Chinese cuisine.

                                  Gone with the Wind is remarkable book for food. So are the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Buckwheat pancakes,anyone?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: chef_max

                                    I want to second the Little House books!

                                    1. re: chef_max

                                      Oops, didn't see this before I posted. But anyway, yes, especially Farmer Boy!

                                    2. "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" by Jorge Amado

                                      Was also made into a film in the 70s with Sonia Braga as Dona Flor. Great scenes of her preparing the famous dishes of Bahia, Brazil including Moqueca de Peixe.


                                      1. Atlhough not prominent in each of the books, food, wine and ejoying life are a thread through Michael Dibden's Aurelio Zen books and, I find them a good read.

                                        1. Hey, what about "Farmer Boy," by Laura Ingalls Wilder? There's a lot about food in all of her books, but this one (which was about her husband's childhood in upstate New York) is filled with loving descriptions of food from the point of view of a very hungry little boy.

                                          1. I'm in the middle of reading "Cooking with Fernet Branca" by James Hamilton-Paterson.
                                            Very satirical take on foodie novels complete with recipes such as Mussels in Chocolate and Otter with Lobster Sauce. Laugh out loud in places. Can't wait to see what the final dish will be.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Sloth

                                              Sounds like a good one !!

                                              BTW, i forgot to mention Eating Crow...

                                            2. Marlena de Blasi's "A Thousand Days in Tuscany" and "A Thousand Days in Venice". Not fiction, but great stories.

                                              Diane Mott Davidson's series of novels featuring Goldy the caterer solving mysteries and cooking up good food

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: torty

                                                I had heard about Diane Mott Davidson's books. Are the mysteries any good?

                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                  It is light reading that I find enjoyable, but it does not challenge the mind.

                                                  1. re: torty

                                                    I agree with torty's assessment. Not only is it light reading, they aren't written particularly well either - no real suspense or investment in the characters. There are much better mysteries out there.

                                                    But, the interesting portions are when the protaganist, Goldy, is cooking or coming up with a recipe. Her thought process on the food and how it comforts her and helps her think. Her family also really enjoys her cooking and they all pitch in. The book usually has the menu that gets mentioned throughout the book as well as the recipes. I've never had any huge urge to make any of the recipes but I like that they are incorporated into the book.

                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                      I've quit reading the books but in fact tried some of the recipes, which were really quite good. Hers is still our usual recipe for pizza dough.

                                                  2. re: Phaedrus

                                                    I read a few fifteen years ago when foodie fiction with recipes was quite novel (so to speak). The food part was great. I had a problem with the self-pitying/dragon-slaying main character.

                                                2. I loved the James Herriott books about Yorkshire farms. True, they're not foodie books, but they do mention foods the people love like Wensleydale cheese and Yorkshire pudding. It made me want all these foods when I was a pre-teen, even though I had no idea what they tasted like.

                                                  1. The antithesis of light reading, but surprised no one's mentioned Taquin Winot from John Lanchester's "The Debt to Pleasure". The character is Bezelbub in a haute couture chef's hat, but the food, oh!, the food...

                                                    How can you resist a book with this opening line: "This is not a conventional cookbook..."

                                                    1. The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu Jaber

                                                      1. I just read the Lost Recipe for Happiness and really enjoyed it.

                                                        It was a fast, easy read and is sprinkled with delicious sounding New Mexican recipes....

                                                        1. I am currently reading The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark. Starts in 1498 in Venice. It's about cooking and alchemy. The main character is an apprentice Chef. Lovely vivid descriptions of the food.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. The obvious answer is the Inspector Maigret mysteries by Georges Simenon. The French dishes are all classics of bistro and la femme cuisine. There was even a festival in DC in 1987.
                                                            (A Celebration in Film, Food and Food for Thought)