07 Jul Consumed any good books lately?
Some people can’t wait for summer to roll around, stocking their beach bag with fiction favorites, bestsellers, new releases or romance novels, ready to relax and revel in their reading.
Honestly, if I could get away with it, I’d take a stack of cookbooks to the pool — big chunky hardbacks jam-packed with glossy photographs of irresistible food photography. Yum. Not entirely sensible, I guess.
But what I do start doing as soon as the school year draws to a close is collect foodie memoirs chronicling the tales of growing up cooking in the kitchen or the rigors of culinary school or the life of a restaurant critic.
Food memoirs for me are akin to candy for children. Oh sure, it seems like a good idea to save the candy until a rainy day or until you’re hungry, but that’s easier said than done.
I recently received a new food memoir in the mail, a gift from my brother Kelly for an upcoming birthday. Because it wasn’t actually my birthday yet, I contemplated (for a few seconds) waiting to open the cardboard mailer, but patience has never been my strong suit. By the time I had reached the kitchen, I already was pulling at the handy dandy zip strip Amazon. com so conveniently installs on its packages. Zip. Rip.
Reveal. And there it was: “Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life” by Kim Severson.
“Just one chapter,” I told myself, heading outside to soak up some more-than-welcome spring sunshine. Well, you can guess how that turned out. One chapter became two, and before my birthday rolled around a few days later, I had devoured half the book. Oops.
When Kelly called me to wish me a happy birthday, I felt the need to come clean and admit I’d opened his gift early.
“Don’t feel bad,” Kelly said when I told him, “I opened the birthday card you sent me and cashed the check yesterday,” he said, his birthday a full week away.
For your beach reading pleasure this summer, I give you a roundup of recently released foodie favorites. Enjoy!
“A Homemade Life” by Molly Wizenberg (2009) — A delightful food memoir flavored with delicious recipes.
Wizenberg writes Bon Appetit’s “Cooking Life” column and is author of the wildly popular Orangette blog.
“Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise” by Ruth Reichl (2005) — An entertaining behind-thescenes look at Reichl’s adventures during her stint as restaurant critic at The New York Times.
Reichl is the former editor of Gourmet magazine.
“Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes” by Elizabeth Bard (2010) — A charming tale of Bard’s blossoming romance with Gwendal and Paris and the food of France.
“Spiced: A Pastry Chef’s True Stories of Trials by fire, after-hours exploits, and what really goes on in the kitchen” by Dalia Jurgensen (2009) — Saucy stories of Jurgensen’s forays into the food world as a pastry chef, caterer, food freelancer for Martha Stewart and chef consultant.
“Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life” by Kim Severson (2010) — An intriguing collection of life lessons and recipes culled from Severson’s encounters with foodie icons Marion Cunningham, Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl, Marcella Hazan and Rachael Ray, among others.
“Best Food Writing 2009” edited by Holly Hughes (2009) — An appetizing array of the year’s best offerings in food writing, an annual anthology not to be missed.
“Secret Ingredients: the New Yorker Book of Food and Drink” edited by David Remnick (2007) — Savory selections of humor, memoir, short stories, poems and cartoons, all about food, taken from The New Yorker magazine.