When we lived in Honduras, Melissa and I would spend hours perusing cookbooks and drooling over all the recipes we didn’t have the ingredients to make. And with the passing of years, my cookbook addiction turned to something even more interesting, a food memoir addiction.
To the best of my understanding, a food memoir is a book which tells snippets of stories from a person’s life, around the theme of food. Memoirs differ from biographies in that they don’t follow a person’s life chronologically, from birth to death, but rather, tell various stories, often based around a theme. Because of that, they have a lot more liberty than a biography, and in my opinion, are often a lot more interesting.
My favorite one to date is Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl, which I’ve written about here. It tells the story of a woman who moved to New York City to be the restaurant critic for the Times, only to find that the restaurants had her picture tacked up and rewards offered for the waiters who could spot her. To avoid special treatment and to write honest reviews, she took to going out undercover. She would develop elaborate costumes, complete with a name and a personality to go with it, and oh, the adventures she had! The book is packed with humor and deliciousness and my favorite city- what’s not to love?
Once I discovered how much I loved this book, I found several others along the same lines that are delightful as well.
- Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist
- How to Celebrate Everything by Jenny Rosenstrach
- My Life in France by Julia Child
The first one is especially delightful. Her recipe for bacon wrapped dates is bizarre and oddly, a very satisfying and impressive party dish. And I’ll tell you more about the second one later this month. Till then…
P.S. Don’t read these while hungry.