Sometimes your eyes go blurry from staring at so much food porn on your computer screen that you have to change mediums. So you start watching the Food Network. But what do you do when you’ve reached food photo saturation? Read about food, duh. Unlike reading for classes, reading about food is light, easy and always enjoyable. Grab one of these tomes and have yourself a lovely long weekend.
Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
My favorite part about having a Kindle is it lets me bring more clothes on vacation because my suitcase isn’t packed with heavy books. My second favorite part about having a Kindle is highlighting funny or poignant lines while I’m reading so I can easily reread my favorites parts later. When I started Food: A Love Story I knew I was in for a treat because I wanted to highlight every single line. Jim Gaffigan is no food expert, just a guy who loves to eat and has been able to travel around the country doing stand-up comedy and eating (almost) everything America has to offer. This book made me laugh, smile, agree and strongly disagree and it’s now one of my all time favorites. Here are some choice quotations:
“Guacamole is made with the avocado, which is so delicious I think it should be reclassified as a cheese.”
“I hate when I try to order a salad and my mouth says, ‘I’ll have a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese.'”
“Announcing you ate kale is like the bringing-up-the-SAT-score of vegetables.”
“Cheesecake is a double positive.”
If you don’t think any of that is hilarious and/or incredibly true you should skip this book and also check yourself for a sense of humor.
Delicious!: A Novel by Ruth Reichl
My opinion on Ruth Reichl’s debut novel is slightly different than that of the press but that’s because there were such high expectations based on how fantastic Reichl’s nonfiction food writing is. Reichl has been the restaurant critic for, among other publications, The New York Times, the editor of the late, great Gourmet magazine and a best selling author of food focused memoirs, but I think Delicious! falls into a different category. This is young adult fiction centered on a slightly older than young adult protagonist who has a perfect palate and a thriving cake business with her older sister. That is until something happens that causes her to cringe at the thought of cooking. She drops out of college when she gets a job at a food magazine located in New York, only to have the magazine fold. She meets fantastic characters and her life changes in pretty much every way. While I was reading this book I kept thinking, “this cannot be real life,” and then, “can this please be my life?” If you love food and the culture that surrounds it and want a fun, quick read pick up Delicious!.
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Reading Kitchen Confidential simultaneously made me want to be a chef and made me never want to set foot in such a crazy business. The book that brought Bourdain to fame has become a classic, must read for anyone interested in the world behind the kitchen doors. I like to imagine Bourdain’s voice reading to me whenever I read something he’s written (for help with this watch an episode of No Reservations or Parts Unknown and you’ll never have trouble imagining it again). If you can, grab a copy of the insider’s edition with updated notes and thoughts from the author.
BONUS: Lucky Peach Magazine
Lucky Peach magazine, started by David Chang (of Momofuku fame) and Peter Meehan, is a beautiful amalgam of articles, short stories and illustrations with direct or hidden ties to food. The quarterly magazine, now up to its 13th issue, gathers writers and artists from all over the world with a variety of backgrounds and spits out a thick magazine filled with science, comics and recipes (in case you forgot it was about cooking). Great news – as of this month Lucky Peach is online! If you can’t shell out the $100+ the first issue now goes for you can read excerpts from the ramen focused issue now online for the first time.