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What's your favorite non fiction cooking novel?

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Showing 1-25 of 106 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 18, 2008 10:10:43 PM PDT
Poodle_Mama says:
The first one I read was " Julie/Julia" its about a blogger who decides to cook every one of Julia Childs recipes in her Art of French Cooking" Vol 1
This book inspired me to cook, I went from someone who could care less about cooking to a cooking addict! My daughter teases me cause when she was little I thought Food Network was a waste of cable!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2008 9:39:01 AM PDT
"What's your favorite non fiction cooking novel?" is not a coherent question. A novel, by definition, is a work of fiction. A non-fiction novel would be something quite like a round square.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2008 10:42:59 AM PDT
A. Darnell says:
I really appreciate Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." It really will change the way you view food here in the United States.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2008 10:52:44 AM PDT
SLCS says:
Wesley L. Janssen,
While you are correct, I think the OP's intent is very clear. I will choose to not be mean and answer the question in the spirit in which it was intended.

D. Grzymala,
I also enjoyed "Julie and Julia." Two other interesting books are Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" and "Heat" by Bill Buford. Bourdain's book gives a funny and sometimes gross behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant industry, and "Heat" is about Mario Batali as well as the author's experiences learning to cook in Italy. One of my favorie books is "The Kitchen Diaries" by British food writer Nigel Slater. It is his year-long diary of the foods he cooked and meals he ate, and includes quite a few recipes as well as his elegant prose.
I share your addiction for cooking! Thanks for starting this discussion :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2008 3:54:16 PM PDT
I loved the Ruth Reichel books, Comfort Me with Apples, Tender at the Bone and Garlic and Sapphires.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2008 6:03:44 PM PDT
Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver hands down and cooking!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2008 8:06:32 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 19, 2008 8:20:20 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2008 9:32:14 PM PDT
Poodle_Mama says:
I enjoy Kingsolver, I'll have to check that one out. As well as the others that SLS mentioned. I'm reading "The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness, and the Making of a Great Chef" written by Marco Pierre White. It's very good, You get the idea of what it's like coming up in the ranks to Chef. I just finished " The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry" A journalist writes about her journey through Culinary school in France. She discovers more then just how to cook. One of those life journey books. It was very inspiring , but I'm not about to run off and go to France to study! She also includes some very easy recipes, and a few not so easy! Just think a few months ago I was hooked on Serial Killer books! LOL
Can anyone recommend a good non fiction book that goes into the history of cooking? If anyone has read Erik Larson, and is familiar with his style, I'd like to find a something along his lines. He goes back into history, very detailed research, and brings together historical events, and how they happened at the same time. One was The Worlds Fair, and H.H. Holmes a murderer who lived in Chicago in the same time frame as the fair.
Thanks all for posting!

and thanks for the save SLS!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2008 9:37:35 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 25, 2008 7:19:12 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2008 10:57:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2008 11:01:33 PM PDT
"While you are correct . . . I will choose to not be mean . . ."

Terribly sorry, I intended no 'meanness' (and would prefer to think of myself as 'not having a mean bone in my body'). I'm just an antiquated, bookish literati of sorts who is always uncomfortable with manifest inaccuracy. Personally, if and when I might say anything plainly irrational, I would greatly appreciate having it pointed out to me (so as not to persist in a mistake), but have sometimes found that many of my fellow humans view this kind of thing rather differently.

With apologies to anyone offended -- happy cooking.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2008 5:57:33 AM PDT
Jody says:
I absolutely adore Laurie Colwin's books--both fiction and non fiction. A columnist for Gourmet Magazine before her untimely death in 1990, she published several novels, two books of short stories, and two collections of her delightful Gourmet column, "Home Cooking" and "More Home Cooking". Her observations on cooking, food, friends and family are pure joy to read and nearly inspired one of my non-cooking, non-reading friends to actually venture into her pristine kitchen.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2008 9:04:26 AM PDT
Poodle_Mama says:
Excellent! I've got my summer reading cut out for me! Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2008 7:55:27 PM PDT
J. LEROY says:
I actually really disliked the Julie/Julia book -- so take my recommendations with a grain of salt! That being said, the snippets she included from "My Life in France" really intrigued me and I ended up reading that next. LOVED it. (Warning: may make you decide to run off to France and marry a man named Paul). Right now I'm about 7/8th of the way through "The Making of a Chef" by Michael Ruhlman, and am enjoying this one just as much. The author enrolls at the Culinary Institute of America and writes about the whole process from beginning to end. It's a great little window into the culinary school experience -- and yes, may also make you want to run off and go to cooking school. Or maybe I'm just impressionable...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2008 10:41:58 AM PDT
Poodle_Mama says:
I just saw "My Life in France " at a used bookstore the other day, I'll have to go up and get it. I want to read the other one too. ( so many books, so little time UUUGH!) You might want to check out "The sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry" can't remember the aurthor, but it was really good. I listed it in a previous post.
I just recieved The Top Chefs Cookbook from amazon today...ought to have fun with that one!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2008 4:30:29 PM PDT
merryheathre says:
I really enjoyed "Cooking for Mr. Latte" by Amanda Hesser and "Garlic and Sapphires" by Ruth Reichl.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 24, 2008 9:13:26 AM PDT
Kathy Grace says:
I agree with Wesley Janssen... "non fiction novel" left me wondering whether the OP wanted a novel (and just typed "non" through force of habit) or a non-fiction work (and typed "novel" instead of "book").

So, assuming it's non-fiction:
- Heat, by Bill Buford (a must-read for all Mario Batali fans, but entertaining even if you don't worship the great red one)
- It Must Have Been Something I Ate, by Jeffrey Steingarten (he's a frequent judge on Top Chef America)
and of course...
- Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain (written before he became a Bravo/Food Network pim-- er, star)

I just picked up "Saucier's Apprentice" from the library--haven't read it yet, but the pun was enough to grab me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 24, 2008 10:22:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 25, 2008 7:20:41 PM PDT
Poodle_Mama says:
I will say I do prefer Anthony Bourdain's writing to his show. Don't get me wrong I like his show, it's just that his writing provides so much more flavor. (pun intended)

I will also offer up Gordon Ramsay's auto biography ( that is when a person writes his own story about himself, am I correct? if not please don't tell me) I thought it was very informative, and explains a lot about his personality as a chef. I know a lot of people don't like him, I guess some people can't take a joke. He comes off so hard, but from what I've read in other books, all chefs expect a good "bollucking" when they are learning. He may be harsh,but he gives a damn and that is why I admire him and love his shows, and cook books. He truly loves what he does His writing is a bit awkward, but I loved the story itself.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 24, 2008 7:34:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 24, 2008 7:38:08 PM PDT
A Listener says:
To D. Gryzmala:

Try "Good Maine Food", by Margaret Mosser and Kenneth Roberts. Ms. Mosser was the niece of Mr. Roberts, the novelist and historian ["Arundel", "Rabble In Arms", "Oliver Wiswell","Northwest Passage" (made into a movie starring Spencer Tracy)]. Mr. Roberts annotated the book with notes and short essays on Italian cooking (he lived in Italy while writing a book), making ketchup, the history of tomatoes in New England; how to make baked beans, red flannel hash, etc. A warm book full of good recipes and information, and a view of State-of-Mainers of the 30's and 40's, and earlier. Good people.

It is probably very hard to find, but the 1934 cookbook of the California Congress Of Parents And Teachers, Los Angeles Tenth District, is engrossing both as a cookbook and as a source of insight into how Los Angeles County has changed. Each recipe is identified by the woman who submitted it, and her school area. Many of those areas have changed greatly. The cookbook is forwarded by a letter on White House stationary from the then new first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt. Worth tracking down.

Regarding the Food Network, my wife and I enjoyed it more when it was cooks and recipes, rather than celebrity chefs, contests, and "entertainment". My wife now watches America's Test Kitchen, Everyday Food, and Everyday Baking, when she watches cooking shows.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2008 12:42:36 AM PDT
"The Making of a Chef" by Michael Ruhlman is a great account of a writer who wants to understand what it is to go throught the Culinary Institute of America and what happens to make one a chef.

A book often referenced as a great resourse in "The Making of a Chef" is "On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen" by Harold McGee. This is an amazing book. It is very readable science, and explains why ingredints act the way they do when cooking - why things go bad and why things work. This will be one of the oft referenced books in my kitchen.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2008 4:11:13 PM PDT
Square Meals is an enjoyable history of cooking in the USA. I believe it starts in the 1920's.
Lots of recipes for each era.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2008 4:49:06 PM PDT
Wesley is right, novels are fiction. Try writing a recipe that as clearly as you phrase a question, it won't be edible.
my favorite cooking non-fiction BOOK is _The Art of Eating_ by M.F.K. Fisher. Right now myy favorite fiction is _Dead Heat _ by Dick Francis

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2008 7:13:13 PM PDT
Poodle_Mama says:
To a Listener:

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll put them on my list, which is growing longer everyday.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2008 7:17:13 PM PDT
Poodle_Mama says:
Thank you, I saved both in my list on Amazon.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2008 7:18:13 PM PDT
Poodle_Mama says:
Thank you too!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2008 7:40:48 PM PDT
Poodle_Mama says:
to J.Leroy:
I went up the next day and bought "My Life in France" I have not cracked it yet but i will by the end of the weekend. "The Making of a Chef" is next as many people have mentioned it. I'm heading for the library next week. Thanks!
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Discussion in:  Cooking forum
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Total posts:  106
Initial post:  Jul 18, 2008
Latest post:  May 25, 2012

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