Reading is a pleasure that is right up there next to eating: I cannot imagine my life without it. Books are transporting, engaging, enlightening, and totally enjoyable. When I imagine a perfectly relaxing day, there is always a book there. Over the last few years, my reading as shifting squarely into the food writing camp. Sure, I still read other books (I just finished Vanity Fair, and let me tell you, it took FOREVER). But the books I get most excited about these days are all about cooking and eating.
Because it’s the weekend, the best time for reading (and because I finally finished that book; seriously, it took forever), I thought this Friday I would share with you some of my favorite food books.
I think The Omnivore’s Dilemma is on everyone’s list of favorites. This book was life changing for me. Pollan manages to write about what could be a very depressing subject in a way that is engaging and entertaining. It’s like medicine going down with sugar. I love this book. If you haven’t read it yet, you should really get on that.
I fell in love with A Homemade Life, and with the whole life pictured within it. This book comes back off the shelf whenever I need inspiration to make my own life a little more beautiful, in the small ways that really matter most.
This is one of the first pieces of food writing I ever read. I picked this up before I started writing my own blog, and it inspired me in the kitchen when I really didn’t know what I was doing. Buford writes amazing prose that really brings you along in to the steamy kitchens and Italian villages with him.
This collection, edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler, is full of classic essays by people like Amanda Hesser, Laurie Colwin, and Marcella Hazan. I read it before I knew who any of those people were, but it spoke to me, as a single cook, and made my little quiet life feel like a beautiful thing. It encouraged me to cook amazing meals, even when I was the only who would be enjoying them.
Sometimes I like to read cookbooks like they’re novels. The Zuni Cafe Cookbook is one of my favorites. It is a beautiful book, and makes me want to perform every task in the kitchen like it’s sacred. If you don’t think cookbooks can contain immaculate food writing, pick up a copy of this.
And a bonus: I love the Best Food Writing series, and I’m reading the 2011 editing this weekend while we’re camping in Mendocino. It’s always a fun and varied collection, with pieces by new and established writers. Reading these essays always inspires me to hone my own writing craft. I am already giddy with anticipation of sitting around an early morning campfire with a cup of coffee and this book. It should make for a perfect relaxing weekend.