In the past couple years, I’ve probably read more about food than all my coursework put together. For me, reading about food is almost meditative—I feel like I’m in familiar territory, especially since I’ve seen so many of these authors on TV or online. Anyway, now that it’s started to rain, curl up with one of these books and some nice ramen.
1. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
“To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living.”
I agree, Anthony. I’m generally not a huge fan of the whole celebrity chef brigade, but I love the honesty with which he writes. It’s almost like accidentally eavesdropping on a conversation; it’s like he didn’t really expect you to read the book. If you are even slightly interested in what goes on on the other side of those kitchen doors, don’t miss this book.
2. Momofuku by David Chang
“Momofuku is not me. It’s everyone. I’m just the facade. We have to exceed expectations and be our harshest critics.”
From the homophonous qualities of the title to the choice of words used–this book is profane. And that’s not considering the very explicit food pornography it hides within its covers.
I love David Chang–and this book embodies his ‘who cares’ attitude as it details the stories of how his Momofuku empire grew and how the dishes evolved. It’s inspirational how Chang spent years in Japan learning about noodles and ramen, and then capitalised on his expertise on these to shoot to fame in the food scene.
3. Eat my Globe by Simon Majumdar
“Go Everywhere, Eat Everything.”
Simon boldly lays down his mission on the cover of his book, and he doesn’t fail to deliver.
He decided to strike this desire off his bucket list after having a midlife crisis and sending out 42 emails saying, “I hate my job,” and quitting. He takes us through a bunch of countries including China, India, Australia and Mongolia.
Reading about him eating a whole tandoori chicken at Bukhara and can rat in China (he ate it so we don’t have to) stirs my desire to get out of the house and start chomping my way around the world myself.
4. Larousse Gastronomique
The venerable encyclopaedia on food, cooking techniques and ingredients. First published in French in 1938, with a preface written by Escoffier, this book has now evolved into a compendium of over 8,500 recipes, over a 1000 pages of culinary terms, 900 full color photographs and 70 black and white illustrations.
Don’t step into a kitchen without a copy of this to back you up.
5. Rude Food by Vir Sanghvi
This one’s for those of you who wait for Vir Sanghvi’s column in Brunch every Sunday. Vir Sanghvi’s honest, yet sharp and witty writing makes up for his occasionally self effacing and borderline obnoxious presentation of views. With columns touching on wine, whisky, caviar and the story of Indo-Chinese food–it’s very comprehensive read.
Read more from Spoon’s other chapters: