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Jul 6, 2011 09:28 PM

Novels (fiction or non)

Looking for some summer reads food related. Can be about chefs, food critics, whatever. I loved HEAT a few summers ago. Historical fiction or travelogues with food ties are great too. I have done the searches, just looking for some new ones.

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  1. i haven't yet gotten to Bourdain's latest - "Medium Raw" - but it's #1 on my list when i find the time to curl up with a book for pleasure.

    there's also Gabrielle Hamilton's "Blood, Bones & Butter."

      1. Last summer I read Ruth Reichl's memoirs, "Tender at the Bone: Growing up at the Table," "Comfort me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table," and "Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Restaurant Critic." I enjoyed them all; she has a good sense of humor and struck a nice balance between providing insider info about the food industry while not taking it too terribly seriously.

        I also read Jeffrey Steingarten's, "It Must Have Been Something I Ate." I would like to read his earlier book, "The Man Who Ate Everything," but last I checked I couldn't get it for my e-reader. He was fascinating to me and I now watch him as a judge on Iron Chef without getting annoyed by his grouchiness.

        For a really light fictional look at a restaurant on Nantucket during summer season, I enjoyed "The Blue Bistro" by Elin Hildebrand. Great escapist beach reading.

        10 Replies
        1. re: jlhinwa

          FWIW, i'm struggling with The Man Who Ate Everything. i know this is going to sound like a strange criticism for a *book* but it's too wordy...i'm just not crazy about the writing style and i'm finding it tedious to get through.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Hmmm....I am happy to know it is in kindle version now but am not sure I am as excited to read it now. He does have a painstakingly detailed way of documenting his food experiments. I definitely did some skimming on his other book but still enjoyed it.

          2. re: jlhinwa

            Man who ate everything has a kindle version now for sure, I finished it a few weeks ago.

            I'm currently reading "The Sorcerer's Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran AdriĆ 's elBulli"

            1. re: twyst

              Ohh...I think I would like this. Although I've never eaten that type of food...I'm facinated by the process.

            2. re: jlhinwa

              What I like about both of Jeffrey Steingarten's books is that they're easy to read in bits and pieces. I read The Man Who Ate Everything over a few library checkouts last summer, and I've been working on It Must Have Been Something I Ate in the same way this summer. I've always been amused by his judging on ICA, and his writing is bright and funny and shows the often ridiculous extents he's willing to go to in order to find his next perfect bite.

              I love Anthony Bourdain's voice and narrative style in his nonfiction. I'm tempted to read his mystery novel, though I'm worried it won't live up to my expectations.

              1. re: writergeek313

                He has three mystery novels, and if you read the three in chronological order, you may see a great progression in his writing skills.

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  I read them all and really liked them. True about the progression of writing...I do wish he'd write another one.

              2. re: jlhinwa

                +1 Blue Bistro by Elin Hildebrand: I read Blue Bistro this summer and really enjoyed it too! I read it on the beach too. Yum. I was just envisioning those delectable picnics on the beach, plus the meals at the bistro, featuring summer goodies.

                Ruth Reichl's books are fantastic, in my opinion. I utterly enjoyed them all.

                1. re: twilight goddess

                  Twilight goddess: I just read her book "The Love Season," also set in Nantucket. The main character is a former chef and there is lots of interesting food descriptions. I think I enjoyed the story of the Blue Bistro more, but it was another great read.

              3. I love the title of this thread. All these fake memoirs have done a number on us, clearly leading to this new designation of the "non-fiction novel." Hilarious.

                As for some suggestions, I second 'Garlic and Sapphires' and also throw in some Jay Rayner with 'The Man Who Ate the World' (fun in doses) and his novel, 'The Apologist', which I read years ago. Food plays a much smaller role here as the story is about something else, but the descriptions are there.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Lizard

                  Ok..I thought that was funny too..but didn't want to comment on it.

                  actually I was LMAO.

                  But to food books..."rememberance of things paris..60 years of Gourmet writing" R. Reichl" is not a novel.

                  "Blessed are the cheese makers" By Sarah-Kate Lynch is.

                2. The New Yorker book on food and drink "Secret Ingredients" is a lot of fun (contains the best food-related cartoon ever, by Charles Addams). Also really enjoyed the divinely-titled "Food and Booze".