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Suggestions on books which can inspire dinner

My book group discusses books over dinner. In the last year we've twice had books which inspired the dinner. Everyone agreed that combining the two added to the fun. Now we're looking for some good books that have food as a major or minor part of the story so we can do this again. Any ideas? All cuisines are welcome - we're game!

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  1. How about "Heat" by Bill Buford? It's about his journey into the culinary world. Good book, lots of food inspirations likely to be found.

    Another might be "Kitchen Confidential" by Anthony Bourdain. Same kind of stuff, but from a different angle.

    1. Have you read "Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies" by Laura Esquivel?

      2 Replies
      1. re: kattyeyes

        That's just the kind of thing we would like. My guess is most people have read it already - but it will defeintely go on our possible list!

        1. Have you read Jacques Pepin's "The Apprentice: My life in the Kitchen"? Or Julia Child's "My Life in France". They could be fun.

          1. The Language of Baklava

            The Last Chinese Chef

            Bento Box in the Heartland

            Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India

            Tender at the Bone

            Enjoy :)

            3 Replies
            1. re: sharkgirl88

              Thank you! We did The Last Chinese Chef - we even found a local restaurant to duplicate many of the dishes! We had a feast of about 15 dishes, all excellent. That's one of the things which is inspiring our search for other culinary books ;)

              1. re: lupaglupa

                Happy to help.

                Here's another title I failed to add:

                Cooking and Screaming: Finding My Own Recipe for Recovery

                Inspirational and a good read if you like "I will prevail" type of books.

                Follow up Tender at the Bone with Comfort me with Apples and Garlic and Sapphires and you pretty much have Ruth Reichl's life story in front of you.

                I also enjoyed The Man who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten but it's more of a collection of essays he wrote for Vogue where he was (is?) a food writer.

              2. re: sharkgirl88

                Second the "Climbing the Mango Tree". After reading it all I craved was _real_ Indian food.

              3. Any of the Kay Scarpetta books, by Patricia Cornwall - she cooks some yummy sounding food in the her books, when she's not autopsy-ing bodies.....

                Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a good one, for creating an all locally produced meal.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jeanmarieok

                  We did a local organic after Omnivore's Dilemma - it was great and I'm sure we'd enjoy another go at that...