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Any foodie book gift ideas?

She's already read "Kitchen Confidential" 1 and 2, "The Devil in the Kitchen" by Marco Pierre White, and "Heat" by Bill Buford. Any other books my foodie wife would enjoy in that vein?

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  1. I am in love with "My Life in France" despite Julia Child's disdain of her own parents in the book, which I found appalling. Politics should never sever familial ties, in my opinion, since politics are fleeting and fairly meaningless to me. That is why I only partially read, "As Always, Julia" a book of letters between Julia and Avis DeVoto. If your wife is politically inclined in the most liberal way, she would like that book. Other than that, I suggest Kindle or Nook, the latter of which I requested for my Christmas gift so I can search and download to my heart's content! My current read is foodie only in the most remote way, "MARY, A Novel," Mrs. A. Lincoln, by Janis Cooke Newman.

    1. Oh, forgot to mention, one of the most entertaining and life changing book I have read in recent memory is Robb Walsh's "Sex, Death and Oysters." Totally changed my mind about oysters and made me a HUGE fan of oysters. I now seek them out from November to April, in Houston, and Paris, and England....

      1. Some of my very favorites:

        Ruth Reichl's two:
        "Tender at the Bone" - laugh-out-loud funny
        "Comfort Me with Apples" - also wonderful

        "Like Water for Chocolate" - magically wonderful; I've read it so many times. If your wife hasn't, she should. I treasure it.

        And "Chocolat" by Joanne Harris. Another must-read treasure of a book.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jaymes

          Harris' Five Quarters of the Orange was charming as well.

        2. Anything by Ruth Reichl is a great read. My husband got me Dining Out by Dornenburg and Page, I liked it. A really neat read "Salt" by Mark Kurlansky is wonderful, he also did one on Cod which I haven't gotten to yet. If your wife is into heavy reading Brillat-Savarin "Physiology of Taste" brings philosphy and food together. Weighty but worth it. The quote from Iron Chef "Tell me what you eat and I'll tell you what you are" is from this book. These are a few of my favorites, and mentioned earlier "Like Water for Chocolate" also an all time favorite.

          1. I liked several of the books already mentioned--Reichl's first two, "My Life in France," and "Heat."

            It seemed that "Blood, Bones and Butter" by Gabrielle Hamilton was THE book to read last year. I liked it, she writes beautifully, but I didn't love it.

            I adored Jay Rayner's "The Man Who Ate the World." He also is a wonderful writer and I found his travelogue/food reviews a joy to read.

            2 Replies
            1. re: tvchick

              I agree with you on the Blood, Bones and Butter comment. Nice book, but it barely had anything to do with her being a chef. I think all the great reviews were from guys who had the hots for her!

              1. re: Bart Hound

                Not true; besides, what non-masochistic guy would crush on a woman with such confused "affectional preferences"?

                I found myself shaking my head throughout at just how good the writing was.

            2. Fearless Critic is on their third Houston edition. I like the first two better, but it is still a good read on the Houston food scene.

              1. One of my favorite food reads is R. W. (Johnny) Apple's Far Flung and Well Fed - received it
                for Christmas a couple years ago and couldn't put it down, possibly becausen he wrote
                about so many of the places I've been in the US and Europe and it brought back many
                delicious memories.

                As with others, another of my very favorites is Like Water for Chocolate.

                1. I enjoyed "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry" - a story of Kathleen Flinn's personal journey at Le Cordon Bleu.

                  If your wife is a fan of Italy or, Italian cuisine, she may enjoy Marlena De Blasi's "A Thousand Days in Tuscany". It's one of my favourite food reads and, IMHO the best of MdB's books.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    I liked The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry as well! I'm about to start reading Scars of a Chef - Rick Tramonto.

                  2. I haven't read any of these but I plan to soon and I've heard good things about them:

                    All by Michael Ruhlman:

                    The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America

                    The Soul of a Chef: The Pursuit of Perfection

                    The Reach of a Chef: Professional Cooking in the Age of Celebrity

                    1. Maybe a few pieces by Calvin Trillin?

                      1. The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin...great and inspiring. I listened to the audio book, which added to the atmosphere. Also agree with the Ruth Reichl recommendations below.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: chrisonli

                          This is an amazing book by an amazing guy! I just finished it this past weekend.

                          Did you know that Jacques was a ski instructor at Hunter Mountain?

                          Did you know he was one class short of getting a PhD?

                          Oh yeah, he was a pretty good cook too.

                          1. re: chrisonli

                            I can't believe that I forgot "The Apprentice." Pepin's life experiences are fascinating, and he seems like a great guy. Not to mention the WWII history lesson.

                          2. "the Art of Eating" is a collection of wonderful writings by M.F.K. Fisher. Food lovers would love to have it.

                            1. Maybe a bit of a stretch, but..."Art of Eating" subscription?

                              1. I second the suggestions for "My Life in France," "The Sharper the Knife...," and Ruth Reichl's books -- I like "Tender at the Bone" and "Garlic and Sapphires" better than "Comfort Me with Apples."

                                I was also underwhelmed at "Blood, Bones and Butter " after all the rave reviews. Decent read, but glad I got that one from the library.

                                Anthony Bourdain has lots of other good'uns -- The Nasty Bits, Medium Raw...

                                And I'd also add to the list Jeffrey Steingarten's books: "The Man who ate Everything" and "It must have been Something I Ate"

                                1. I enjoyed "Season to Taste" by Molly Birnbaum. True story of how devastating it is for a chef to lose her sense of smell and how she fought back to regain it. Educational and inspirational.

                                  1. Madhur Jaffrey: "Climbing the Mango Trees." Covers her childhood growing up in India. Wonderful evocations of the food she so obviously loves.

                                    1. Grant Achatz--"Life on the Line"

                                      Wonderful story of Alinea and owner chef's (an incredible chef on so many levels) rise to greatness and battle with tongue cancer. Tongue cancer...for a chef.

                                      I could not put it down

                                      1. Every year my daughter gets me Best Food Writing of the year, i.e. 2011.

                                        1. I love all John Thorne's stuff, Outlaw Cook, Pot on the Fire, etc. and Jeffrey Steingarten as well.

                                          Robb Walsh's book on Oysters is already cited here, but I also enjoyed his Legends of Texas BBQ, and Tex Mex cookbook as well. Another good read along with solid recipes.

                                          I gave a friend a copy of Joe Beef for Christmas, and now must order a copy for myself. Good mix of reading and recipes. I can't stop thinking about the pulled pork fish sticks.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: laststandchili

                                            What has happened to John Thorne? Is he still in the Pioneer Valley? Is he still writing his newsletter, or anything at all?
                                            His books are fantastic, certainly make you want to run straight into the kitchen and cook ANYTHING.

                                          2. If they like sushi or tuna, I'd recommend "The Sushi Economy"

                                            1. Lots of good reads mentioned here. My favorite Reichl though is Garlic and Sapphires (the story of her time as NYTimes Restaurant Critic).

                                              Also the new one from Page and Dornenburg; "Food Lovers' Guide to Wine."

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                Garlic and Sapphires was a good read!

                                              2. check out today's nytimes-dining section-http://www.nytimes.com/pages/dining/i...

                                                2 articles on cookbooks to buy for presents

                                                1. Not quite in the same vein, but this one is on my list. "An Everlasting Meal" by Tamar Adler. She has a chapter on boiling water that is far more than bioled water. You can read an excerpt here.


                                                  The excerpt is an entertaining read.


                                                  1. Adam Gopnik has a new one I'm dying to read: "The Table Comes First: France, Family, and the Meaning of Food".
                                                    I hated the Gabrielle Hamilton, just too too too. Please!
                                                    "Cooking Dirty" By Jason Sheehan is quite a bit of fun.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      Downloaded sample of the Gopnik, v good BUT he has the London bombings dated 2004! How could this happen in a book written by a New Yorker writer, it's the premier fact-checking publication in the US. Come on! No can Google?

                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        Did you ever read the whole book? Gopnik was promoting it on Charlie Rose tonight. It sounded interesting, but I have a grudge against Gopnik for the recent New Yorker article about the dog they bought at a pet shop for their daughter because driving out of the city to find a responsible breeder was too much trouble. Anyone who knows about puppy mills and still buys from a pet shop displays a callous disregard of animal suffering, and underwrites it, IMO. For sure, I will not BUY his new book since he's not profitting a single penny from my wallet. But I might look for it at the library, if it's really good.

                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                          I didn't see the article, but that would turn me off too. Sorry I didn't know about it because I bought the book. Will certainly let you know how it is.

                                                    2. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister.

                                                      1. If you want a truly edgy read, I suggest "Sex & Bacon" by Sarah Katherine Lewis. Read the Amazon reviews to see if you deem it an appropriate gift. (The book is hysterical but edgy, very edgy.)

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. Medium Raw (memoir of his life since Kitchen Confidential) by Anthony Bourdain
                                                          Fortune Cookie Chronicles (non-fiction, story of Chinese food in America) by Jennifer 8. Lee
                                                          The Last Chinese Chef (fiction, a story of Chinese cultural identity told through food) by Nicole Mones
                                                          My Life in France (not at all what I expected, it captures the beginning of a lifelong passion, as well as the determination it took to bring her idea of a French cookbook for the American home chef into being)
                                                          The Widow Cliquot (non-fiction history of the champagne house and the woman who made it famous -- full disclosure: I didn't make it all the way through, but the first half was really interesting)
                                                          The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City (for the Francophile, a memoir about moving to Paris and starting over) by David Leibowitz
                                                          Knives at Dawn (the story of the Bocuse d'Or culinary competition) by Andrew Friedman

                                                          And of course, for totally light reading, there are tons of food murder mystery stories -- The Gourmet Detective series, Death Takes the Cake, Death by the Glass, etc.

                                                          1. How about Jeffrey Steingarten's "The Man Who Ate Everything" and "It Must Have Been Something I Ate"? I enjoyed them more than I expected to - they are brilliantly written and extremely humorous, enough to make me laugh out loud many times. Plus I learned a thing or two! Highly recommended.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: chefathome

                                                              I also recommend this book. It's very good.

                                                            2. I really enjoyed: I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, by Giulia Melucci