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I am an avid reader, and not surprisingly one of my favorite topics to read about is anything related to food. I love a good cookbook, and have spent many hours (and even more dollars), on a collection of books that I have hauled across the country multiple times during my gypsy youth. Now that is devotion. As wonderful as a good cookbook can be with all of the glorious pictures and recipes, there is also a lot of great nonfiction writing out there that I would love to highlight. I picked a few of my favorites that might be less known to the non-chefs of the world but are absolutely worth picking up if you, too, enjoy reading a good book about food, cooking and eating.
A Meal Observed by Andrew Todhunter A gorgeous account of a once-in-a-lifetime (5 hours long!) meal at the venerable French institution Taillevent, written by a journalist who has also recently completed a stage (internship) in their famed kitchen. Todhunter meanders through interactions with the staff, recollections of his own childhood, reflections of French and American culinary culture and culinary history and philosophy.
Comfort Me with Apples by Ruth Reichl The sequel to her first memoir, this book finds famed NYT restaurant critic Reichl living in a California commune in the late '70s on the cusp of starting her writing career. Funny, sweet and personal, it is also a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the parade of amazing destinations and famous friends she enjoyed during her spectacular career.
The Making of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman Okay, I might be biased- this book takes place at my alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America. Journalist Michael Ruhlman joins an incoming class and immerses himself in the world of a culinary student to find out what training to be a chef is really like. It's fascinating, and a fun insight into the life of dedicated burgeoning chefs.
On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee Have you ever wondered why people cry when chopping onions? Why browned meat tastes better? Or why copper is best for whipping meringue? For all the science nerds out there, this book explains the why of absolutely everything in cooking. Praised by Julia Child and M.F.K.Fisher, this book is an undisputed classic of culinary writing.
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