Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.
I like to cook and I like to eat, and I am endlessly entertained by reading books about other people cooking and eating. Give me a snack and a foodie book and I’m dead to the world until I want something else to eat. I think M.F.K. Fisher explained the enjoyable nature of food writing best when she wrote in “The Gastronomical Me,”
It seems to me our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it . . . and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied . . . and it is all one.
So, yeah, what she said. A ton of great food-related books have come off the presses in the past few years, but I’ve managed to winnow my list down to these three winners to share:
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
Knisley, whose mother is a chef, relates her life story as it pertains to food in this very enjoyable graphic novel. Incorporating great recipes into her vignettes, Kinsley dispenses her culinary know-how in an easily digestible (sorry, pun alert!) form. I am generally not into graphic novels, but I totally loved this one.
John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk
Literary fiction meets fancy food in this historical novel set in the seventeenth century. When his mother dies after being run out of town by proselytizing witch hunters, John is sent to work in the kitchens of a nearby estate. He soon becomes an indispensable cook and woos the underfed daughter of the house with his creations. A novel about sin and love and hunger.
Consider the Fork: How Technology Transforms the Way We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson
Did you know that people didn’t have overbites when they just used their hands and a trusty knife to eat? I didn’t. And I didn’t know a whole lot of the other facts scholar Bee Wilson presents in her highly entertaining and engaging account of cooking technology through the ages.
For these and other culinary reads, stop on by the library!