Although nothing can truly beat the pleasure of sitting down to an expertly prepared meal, reading about such a meal can be a close second. Here at MenuPages: Boston, we’re very much into food writing. A good piece of food writing, like any great book, can transport you to a place you’ve never been, teach you about a subject previously unknown, or inspire you to try something new. Because we are truly evangelical about great food writing, we’re offering up a series of recommendations for great food books. Today, we’re taking a look at cooking memoirs.
•Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential was a seminal book in the culinary memoir sub-genre and the genesis of the new food writing that Paul Levy hates so much. It’s an amazingly fast read and if it doesn’t inspire you to start cooking some awesome food, throw away your garlic press and become a charcutier, then nothing will. Bourdain’s immense passion for food comes through in every sentence.
•Our absolute favorite book of last year was Bill Buford’s Heat, which chronicles his quest to become an expert in Italian cuisine. His journey takes him from the line at Mario Batali’s restaurant Babbo to Italy, where he learns the secrets of pasta and meat. It’s a gorgeously written book, but be warned: it will make you spend hours searching for inexpensive fares to Italy.
•Julie Powell might be the best-known female practitioner of the new food writing. Her debut book Julie and Julia, which chronicles her quest to cook every recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking within a year, is, in a word, awesome. Powell’s greatest strength as a writer is that she’s very accessible and relateable, so reading the book may well inspire you to start a giant cooking project of your own.
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly [Amazon]
Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany [Amazon]
Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen [Amazon]