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Fiction books with recipes?

I used to like the Goldy Schulz mystery series by Diane Mott Davidson, but have grown tired of the character. I think it's all the food talk, more than the actual recipes that I like. Any other fiction books along these lines that you recommend?

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  1. Under the Tuscan Sun has a few. The haselnut gelato is killer good.


    1. The Commissario Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri has many scenes which describe what the Commissario has to eat for lunch at home made by his housekeeper, and dishes he is served at his favorite Sicilian tratoria. Not so much actual recipes but enough descriptions of food that you get a sense of how to cook ....or you are already familiar with the dishes. Why just yesterday Salvo had capponata with freshly baked bread made by Ardellina washed down with a half litre of red wine. Then later at Enzo's he ate grilled freshly caught sardines and spaghetti with squid ink sauce, a mixed salad, and espresso corretto. Of course the ever present carafe of wine was on the table along with a bottle of mineral water, as usual.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gio

        I love the Montabano series. Food, sarcasm, humor, mystery, and a huge dollop of Italian politics.

      2. Oldies but goodies: the Inspector Maigret series by George Simenon describes the many wonderful classic French dishes prepared for the Inspector by his wife, Mme. Maigret.
        There's also a Mme. Maigret cookbook.

        1 Reply
        1. re: garlic17

          The Supper Club Mystery Series by J.B. Stanley has recipes. Southern small town stuff. Cute.

        2. Bread Alone, by Judith Ryan Hendricks, about a young woman running from her divorce who ends up baking bread for a living has actual recipes, most for yeast breads, with a few quick breads.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Since posting this, I read the sequel, The Bread Baker's Apprentice, which has more recipes for baked goods.

          2. A friend of mine publishes a mystery journal. Check out this site and there are several lists of books with recipes.,


            Do a search for cooking or recipes.

            1. I love Joanne Fluke and her Hannah Swenson murder mystery series. Hannah is the owner of a cookie store/bake shop, who keeps finding dead bodies and then solving the murders. They are quite entertaining reads, and very clean language. I don't think I've even seen a "damn" in one of her books. And all of her books contain recipes for the cookies she refers to in each book. You can find out more about her books at www.murdershebaked.com

              1. I'd of thought Like Water for Chocolate would be first! Others I've enjoyed are Fried Green Tomatoes and Kurt Vonnegut’s “Deadeye Dick”. Lastly, Proust for the food (you don't need the recipes to make the food he so well describes)

                2 Replies
                1. re: alwayscooking

                  I'm with you that Like Water for Chocolate wasn't the very first one, and recommend that everybody read the book and see the movie. Both were really moving. And the recipes were beautifully presented, too.

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    Has anyone tested the recipes in, "Like Water for Chocolate"?

                2. Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran. Each chapter is loosely based around a new recipe that is made in the cafe where the story is based. Mostly Middle Eastern. It's a nice, easy read.

                  1. While not quite fiction books, two come to mind. First a collection of Nero Wolfe's recipes. Then a collection of recipes of French book that Simenon's Maigret ate regularly. Both worth looking for, used, at Amazon or some similar bookseller.

                    1. Katherine Hall Page has a long-running mystery series featuring protagonist Faith Fairchild, who is a caterer. I always get hungry when I read her books - although I've never tried any of the recipes...

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: chrisonli

                        I second Katherine Hall Page's "Body in the ___" mysteries. (I also used to read DMD's Goldy Schultze, and got tired of it.)

                        1. re: momjamin

                          Here's another vote for the K. H. Page series. Faith is more sophisticated than Goldy and the mysteries actually will not be no-brainers like the more recent Davidson books. I also would urge all foodies to read the Bread Alone and its sequel. They were well written and full of yeast-related details.

                        2. re: chrisonli

                          I think I got my chocolate cheesecake recipe from one of her books. It's been tweaked a little over the years, mainly through my own early errors actually improving it (according to others), but the basic recipe was good as written, and the stories were fun.

                        3. I can think of two off the top of my head that I really enjoyed:
                          1) "I loved, I lost, I made spaghetti" by Giulia Melucci. The recipes are great and many of them are perfect for quick weeknight meals.
                          2) "Can't Wait to get to Heaven" by Fannie Flagg.

                          1. The Epicure's Lament by Kate Christensen. Dark but interesting story. I liked it alot and there is lots of cooking (with recipes) in it. (Wow, first time I have posted in a few years. :-) )

                            1. In Michener's Iberia, he gives a recipe for gazpacho, which I use as my basic recipe for that.

                              1. Going back a few years, "Heartburn" by Nora Ephron. It's "fiction" but really a thinly disguised story of her skanky real life husband (Carl Bernstein the journalist) cheating on her while she's pregnant.

                                "If I had it to do over again, I would have made a different kind of pie. The pie I threw at Mark made a terrific mess, but a blueberry pie would have been even better, since it would have permanently ruined his new blazer."

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: coney with everything

                                  i was going to suggest this book too - just loved it. the movie was terrible, tho i love Meryl Streep. But I love re-reading that book.

                                  1. re: coney with everything

                                    Heartburn occurred to me as well. I loved that she referred to the best bread pudding she ever ate as the same one that was the best one I ever ate -- at Chez Helene in New Orleans, which also served the best fried chicken I've ever had.



                                  2. "The Monte Cristo Cover-up" by Johannes Mario Simmel is a somewhat light-hearted WW2 spy novel wherein the protagonist is a wealthy gentleman banker of German descent who lives in England and loves to cook elegant meals in times of crisis, gets caught up in espionage activities as an agent for England, France and Germany all at the same time. Exact measurements of ingredients are not included, just the menu and prep instructions.

                                    1. The Whistle Stop Cafe made into the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. My daughter and I made fried green tomatoes while watching the movie in the kitchen. A total chick flick but boy did the boys gobble up the tomatoes! Make sure you get the edition with the recipes in the back of the book.

                                      1. Not a book but the movie "Waitress"...there are recipes posted on line. I made several...very good.
                                        The best is Falling in Love Mousse Pie.

                                        1. Edith Wharton always writes what her characters eat to great detail. The Age of Innocence in particular has several good scenes where food is used as indicator of social status.

                                          The House of Mirth has them too, but that book is too depressing to enjoy it much...

                                          Tolstoy uses food to make a point too in several of his books. I keep thinking of the scene in Anna Karenina where Levin and Stiva eat a luxurious French dinner in Moscow, and later Levin returns to the farm and sits to a stout Russian repast, comparing the two in his head.

                                          1. I just finished Blackbery Crumble by Josi Kilpack. The protagonist is an amateur investigator who loves good food. Recipes of some of the things she eats are included throughout the book. I also learned Kilpack has written many more books starring this character all with food items at titles (Devil's Food Cake, Key Lime Pie).