The Library’s annual Books 2 Eat event is fun for everyone: kids, adults, chefs, and those of us who just love to eat! If you’d like to throw your toque in the ring and create an edible piece of art inspired by a book, check out some photos of past entries on Flickr, or the Edible Book Festival’s website.
Organizing this event always makes me hungry to read food-related books. Of course, the Library has a vast selection of cookbooks, but in today’s post I’m looking at the narrative side of the menu. If you’re a mystery reader, you probably already know that professional kitchens have an unusually high murder rate. Diane Mott Davidson‘s series featuring caterer Goldy Bear — with recipes! — was one of the first, but now there are dozens of food-related mysteries set everywhere from donut shops (written by Jessica Beck) to coffeehouses (Cleo Coyle) and tea shops (Laura Childs). There’s even a popular series of White House chef mysteries by Julie Hyzy.
But lately, romances have been heating up too. Amanda Usen and Louisa Edwards both write popular series featuring chefs & restaurateurs who fall in love. Another category that seems to be “mushrooming” is the food-related memoir — and not just the classics such as M.F.K. Fisher’s The Gastronomical Me and Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. Gabrielle Hamilton’s bestselling Blood, Bones and Butter appeared on many best-of-the-year lists when it first appeared. It’s a charming, “unconventional journey through the many kitchens Hamilton has inhabited through the years.” Amateur chefs have added their stories as well, like Bill Buford’s Heat, a chronicle of his experiences working as unpaid apprentice to Mario Batali in the small, chaotic kitchen of Batali’s three-star New York restaurant. And in Beaten, Seared, and Sauced, Jonathan Dixon lived the dream of thousands by signing up to train as a professional chef at the Culinary Institute of America.