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Suggestions on books which can inspire dinner

lupaglupa Feb 20, 2009 11:55 AM

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!

  1. Pylon Feb 20, 2009 03:03 PM

    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. kattyeyes Feb 20, 2009 03:24 PM

      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
        lupaglupa Feb 21, 2009 06:19 AM

        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. re: kattyeyes
          LaLa Feb 25, 2009 05:51 PM

          or her appetite for passion


        2. f
          fern Feb 21, 2009 06:27 AM

          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. sharkgirl88 Feb 24, 2009 11:19 AM

            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
              lupaglupa Feb 25, 2009 05:53 AM

              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
                sharkgirl88 Feb 25, 2009 12:00 PM

                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
                cuccubear Mar 17, 2009 01:12 PM

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

              3. j
                jeanmarieok Feb 26, 2009 05:06 AM

                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
                  lupaglupa Feb 26, 2009 08:31 AM

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

                2. n
                  nmurawsk Feb 26, 2009 03:38 PM

                  An obvious choice, and one you may have already done, is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. A year spent divided through 3 different counties - Italy, Indonesia and India.

                  1. Ruth Lafler Mar 17, 2009 01:08 PM

                    A new book (copyright 2009) I'm reading right now: The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. It doesn't contain any recipes, because part of the theme of the book is that food should touch you in a variety of deeply personal ways, but they do cook a lot of specific dishes and there is at least one complete menu.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      buttertart Mar 18, 2009 10:01 AM

                      I enjoyed this book as well.

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