5 Food Books I Love and a Giveaway!

DSCN0475Thanks to two snow days, I’ve had a wonderful five day weekend. I’ve had so much time! Time to clean the apartment, fold the laundry, cook, and read. It’s been wonderful getting to sit around and explore new cookbooks. In fact, this weekend I’ve added three new cookbooks to Ryan and my ever growing book collection – and I’ve been cooking a lot . But,all this time (and cold weather) have made curling up on the couch, with a good book especially pleasurable.

I love all kind of books, not just food books. I like biographies, historical fiction, and fantasy books aimed at adolescents (like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games). But, food writing can be such great fun. Food writing transports me to new places, gives me inspiration for future posts, and pushes me to try something new at restaurants. Food stories make me feel hungry, excited, and eager to jump in the kitchen.

DSCN0482So, for fellow readers out there, I want to share with you 5 food-related books that have had an impact on me. Also, I want to actually, physically, share a book with one of you, through the first-ever cooking is messy giveaway! I’m giving away one copy of Jacques Pepin’s book Essential Pepin. This book is huge with tons of recipes and clear instructions. My favorite part is that it comes with a DVD where Jacques Pepin shows you a variety of techniques, like flipping an omelet and killing a lobster. He’s awesome, adorable, has a great French accent, and is fun to watch. I love this book, and I’m giving it away only because I have two copies. If you want a peak inside, two recipes I’ve made from the book are french onion soup and steak in a spicy soy sauce.

Anyway, to enter for the book all you have to do is write a comment and share with me the title of a book you love. It can be any kind of book, not just a cookbook or food memoir. Unfortunately, this giveaway is open to just to those in the U.S. I will mail the cookbook via US Postal service.  The winner will be selected on January 29, randomly using random.org. I will contact the winner via email and the winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place. If only one person enters, then yay, you win!

And now, here’s my list of books I love…

Mariel’s 5 Books to Read:

40189A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. This is an excellent memoir about Mayle and his wife’s move to a small home in Provence. I read this when I was on my gap-year between high school and college and I felt transported. I hadn’t traveled much yet, I couldn’t legally drink wine, and I wasn’t much of an adventurous eater – but I wanted to be and do all of those things. I fell in love with the idea of immersing yourself in a new culture through food. The book is not just about food, but the way Mayle describes his meals and wine makes France came alive in decadent and absorbing detail.

25460Animal,  Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I’m crazy about this book and I recommend it to everyone. Kingsolver and her family spend a year striving to live locally and eat with the seasons. Her husband and oldest daughter also contribute chapters to the book. What I love about the book is that it really got me thinking about how I could incorporate local and seasonal food into my diet. I can’t commit myself to being 100% sustainable, but this book helped me think about what I could do and why it is important.  Also I love the recipes! Zucchini chocolate chip cookies! Eggs over chard! And the mozzarella I made  was inspired by her recipe. Most importantly, if you’re not interested in eating locally and seasonally don’t worry – this book has a great narrative and can be pretty funny (there’s a great story about how the family tries to force their turkeys to mate).

booksEating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I’ll be honest, if you’re not interested in where your food comes from, then this is not the book for you. Foer became a father and asked himself if eating meat was the best choice for his family. He goes on a quest to see what’s going on with our food production. I enjoyed that he talked to all different types of people from large meat producers to renegade activists who try to free baby poultry. Also, it was just fascinating learning about all the different types of food industry people and to compare their very different and strong-held beliefs. The book didn’t turn  me into a vegan, but it stuck with me and it has changed some of my grocery shopping habits.

bookcoverThe Art of Eating In by Cathy Erway. In New York, where there are tons of amazing restaurants and Erway decided to go a year without them. I read this when I first moved to New York and was a poor grad student so I liked the idea that I could create delicious meals at home. I also loved how it wasn’t just about home cooking. She explored the non-restaurant food scene which is more elaborate, secretive, and cool than I would have thought. Super clubs? Cook-off competitions? Who knew?! It makes the food scene feel exciting and complex. She also has a great blog, noteatingoutinny.com.

heat-book-coverHeat by Bill Buford. Buford thrusts himself in the restaurant world, taking on every job he’s allowed to at Mario Batali’s restaurant Babbo. The work is challenging, overwhelming, and seemingly exhilarating. Buford paints a “work hard, play hard” picture for what life is like at Babbo. What’s awesome is the Buford gets so engrossed in the Italian cooking and culture at Babbo that he briefly moves to Tuscany and becomes a butcher’s apprentice. The story is crazy, fast-paced, and a delight.

Don’t forgot, share a book title in the comments and you could win the giveaway.

All book cover pictures in the list are from goodreads.com


6 thoughts on “5 Food Books I Love and a Giveaway!

  1. I didn’t know you read any of these books?!?! Abe must be losing a step…. My favorite food related book/series comes from Brian Jacques Redwall series. While these are definitely not food books,they would fall right into your kids fantasy category. Jacques does an amazing job describing the feasts of his all animal casts. One of the most vivid memories I have from the entire series is use of the term “tender vittles” to describe the huge feasts throughout the stories.

  2. I did not know what “Eggs over Chard” was but now I know. My favorite type of books are the detective series. I like Robert Ludlum’s books. He has so many and his recent books have been penned by other authors. They are still very good. I also like James Patterson, Michael Connelly, David Baldacci, etc…

    They are all great writers and story tellers. Gives you a moment to get away from the real world.

  3. I’m sure it’s violating all kinds of copyright laws to do this, but I’m going to quote one of my favorite poems from one of my favorite books. The book is “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein, and the poem is “With His Mouth Full of Food”. I have read this book (and this poem) hundreds of times and it still kills me. Hope you like it too. 🙂

    Milford Dupree, though he knew it was rude, Talked with his mouth full of food. He never would burp or walk out of in the nude, But he talked with his mouth full of food. His mother said, “Milford, it’s crude and it’s lewd To talk with your mouth full of food. Why, even the milk cow who moo’d as she chewed Never talked with her mouth full of food And the cuckoo would never have ever cuckoo’d If he coo’d with his mouth full of food.” His dad said, “Get married or go get tattooed, But don’t talk with your mouth full of food. And if it was a crime, you would surely get sued. If you talked with your mouth full of food. Why just like an animal you should be zoo’d As you talk with your mouth full of food. Cause you know we’re all put in a terrible mood When you talk with your mouth full of food.” They pleaded and begged. He just giggled and chewed. He laughed with his mouth full of food. And all they advised him he simply poo-poo’d He poo-poo’d with his mouth full of food. So they sent for the gluer to have his mouth glued Cause he talked with his mouth full of food. And now instead of “Good morning”, he says, “Gnu Murnood. I wun tuk win mny marf furu foog.”


  4. I love Animal, Vegetable, Miracle too! I read it for the first time last year and loved how it made me think about how I could eat a little more sustainably. Michael Pollan is one of my very favorite food writers. I’m obsessed with The Omnivore’s Dilemma. He’s writes a lot about the food industry and eating sustainably. I just finished his latest this week called “Cooked.” In that book he goes through the different ways we transform our food into something delicious and edible through cooking. It’s fascinating but read the book on a full stomach – it’ll make you too hungry otherwise! It also has recipes, which I’m tempted to try at some point.

  5. One of the best books I’ve ever read was “Devil in the White City” by Eric Larson. A true story of a serial killer who was very active during the building of the Chicago’s World Fair.

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