Nourishing books

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.


That’s not hygienic kitchen wear…

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 butterGabrielle 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.” index.aspx 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.

Still hungry? Check out AbeBook’s list of the 50 “best” food memoirs, or this list of Food & Drink-themed mysteries. Bon appetit!


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