5 summer reads for food lovers: 2012 list
Photo: Robin Shreeves
“The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food” by Judith Jones. This memoir by food editor Judith Jones is wonderful. The book follows her life, mostly through her experiences with food, from childhood to present day. She grew up with bland American food (garlic was not allowed in her home — it was considered alien and vulgar) yet made it a point in her childhood to eat as much flavorful, exciting food as she could get her hands on. While living in France she started writing, and later editing, food pieces, and food became a major part of her life. She’s the woman who made sure that Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” finally got published. Like many food memoirs that span decades, there’s a lot of history to be gleaned, both political and gastronomic, from the stories told. There are also great recipes at the end of the book collected through a lifetime of eating well.
“The Drops of God” by Shin and Yuko Kibayashi. I’ve already written about this Japanese Manga series (Stocking stuffers for wine lovers) that teaches about wine and has had a profound effect on wine drinking in Japan. In this fictional series of graphic novels, Kanzaki Shizuku learns that to receive his inheritance from his recently deceased father, he must compete against a smug wine critic who his father legally adopted only a week before his death. The books take you though the competition, and while Shizuku learns about wine, the readers do, too. The first four books in this series have been translated into English, giving you plenty of fun reading material for the summer.
“Tender at the Bone” by Ruth Reichl. Former Gourmet magazine editor Reichl’s first food memoir (she’s written several books) takes us from her childhood (where her mother often served foods that made people ill) through her early days in Berkeley as part of the beginnings of the organic food movement there in the 1970s, to her education in food and wine by some of the biggest influencers of the day. There’s a lot of personal information about her family and marriage. She’s led quite a life, and readers get to experience it with her through her memories and her recipes.
Lucky Peach magazine. I’m throwing you a curve ball here. This quarterly food magazine that debuted last year is always a great read from cover to cover. Last summer, I asked if the magazine was worth the $10 cover price, and concluded after reading the first issue that it was. After devouring issues two and three, I stand by that conclusion. Very few advertisements and very long feature pieces make this food magazine read more like a book than a cooking magazine, but you will learn some techniques and find some great recipes, too.
- “My Kitchen Wars” by Betty Fussell – I always include at least one book on my summer reads list that I haven’t read yet. This book is on my list to read this summer. This is one of those food memoirs that I’m hoping will teach me about the history of America through the story. The jacket cover says “Fussell pries open the past, giving voice to a generation of women whose stories were shaped but nonetheless silenced by an era of domestic strife and global conflict, from World War II to Vietnam.” I’m looking forward to what there is to learn.
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