I sent my youngest sister a long list of recommended memoirs and biographies because they are her jam. I thought since I had done the work to make the list, I could share it with you too, updated since the list I sent her in December. Since it is so long I will post a chunk of it every now and then. Tell me what you think about this kind of post!
For books to end up on this list,
- I read them already
- I rated them 4 or 5 stars (out of 5)
- I still remembered them
Julie and Julia: 364 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell
Half the story that went into the Julie and Julia movie, the blogger part. She is cleaned up and made into a nicer person in the film than she is in the book, but it’s very readable. She decides to cook her way through The Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and hijinks ensue.
Cleaving by Julie Powell
This is not alphabetical but it follows Julie & Julia so what can you do. This is a continuation of the story, but instead of her exploring Julia Child she works for a butcher. Also she cheats on her husband. I believe I mentioned she is unpleasant. Yet I gave it 4 stars because I couldn't stop reading it.
My Life in France by Julia Child
Half the story that went into the Julie and Julia movie, the legend, the saint, the one and only Julia Child. This is the stage of her life where she is seeking for a hobby and learns to cook!
As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto: Food, Friendship, and the Making of a Masterpiece by Joan Reardon and Avis DeVoto
I was surprised to feel like I learned so much more about Julia Child through her letters. The DeVotos are in the midst of the political and cultural action in New England while the Childs are moving between various appointed locations while Paul worked for the OSS. Julia was a staunch Democrat and very interested in politics, so many of the letters are full of discussions on what was going on with Eisenhower and McCarthy, up through the election of JFK.
Heat:An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford
Seriously could this title be any longer. I love amateur chef memoirs and this is one of the best, plus it is also kind of a biography of Mario Batali.
Kitchen Confidential:Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
At this point, this book is just a restaurant worker classic, but I adore Tony. I read this when I first started thinking about restaurant work, and it was constantly referenced in the Limestone Grille kitchen. I’ve been watching Tony on television ever since.
The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber
Funny because I remember this as a novel but it is a true story about being the child of immigrants and recreating community with foods. Light and lovely.
Life Without a Recipe by Diana Abu-Jaber
All of this author’s novels are food related but this one is more personal, about her own childhood with different cultures and being a first-generation American.
Mastering the Art ofSoviet Cooking by Anya von Bremzen
I LOVED this book so much I made recipes from it for Thanksgivukkah one year, and had my book club read it the next year. Not all of them loved it as much. It takes different decades of Soviet Russia and talks about her childhood through certain food items. I thought it was so interesting!
My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl
Ruth Reichl was the longtime editor of Gourmet Magazine, and suddenly, Conde Nast cancelled the magazine right before the Thanksgiving issue. The next year of her life was rough, and she went back to cooking and spending time with family to make it through. This is where I got the apricot pie recipe, and even though it wasn’t great, it was how she wrote about it that made me want to try it in the first place.
Relish by Lucy Knisley
A graphic novel memoir. Easy read but fun.
The Temporary Bride: A Memoir of Love and Food in Iran by Jennifer Klinec
Learning to cook and falling in love, this is an behind closed doors story of Iranian culture!
Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess by Gael Greene
"A woman does well to be beautiful, mysterious, haunting, witty, rich, and exotic in bed... but it never hurts to cook good." From the old, pre-foodie era of New York City!