What's Cooking: Books About Food and Food People

The next best thing to eating a great meal is reading about a great meal. From behind the scenes at a four-star restaurant to the adventures of a famous restaurant critic, these books will take you into the world of food and foodies. Many of them even include recipes!

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone

By Jenni Ferrari-Adler, editor

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"In this unique collection, twenty-six writers and foodies invite readers into their kitchens to reflect on the secret meals they make for themselves when no one else is looking: the indulgent truffled egg sandwich, the comforting bowl of black beans, the bracing anchovy fillet on buttered toast. From Italy to New York to Cape Cod to Thailand, from M. F. K. Fisher to Steve Almond to Nora Ephron, the experiences collected in this book are as diverse, moving, hilarious, and uplifting as the meals they describe. Haruki Murakami finds solace in spaghetti. Ephron mends a broken heart with mashed potatoes in bed.

"Ann Patchett trades the gourmet food she cooks for others for endless snacks involving saltines. Marcella Hazan, responsible for bringing sophisticated Italian cuisine into American homes, craves a simple grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich. Courtney Eldridge, divorced from a fancy chef, reconnects with the salsa she learned to cook from her cash-strapped mother. Rosa Jurjevics reflects on the influence of her mother, Laurie Colwin, as she stocks her home with salty treats. Almost all of the essays include recipes, making this book the perfect companion for a happy, lonely-or just hungry-evening home alone."

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Alice, Let's Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater

By Calvin Trillin

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"Calvin Trillin, guided by an insatiable appetite, embarks on a hilarious odyssey in search of 'something decent to eat.' Across time zones and cultures, and often with his wife, Alice, at his side, Trillin shares his triumphs in the art of culinary discovery, including Dungeness crabs in California, barbecued mutton in Kentucky, potato latkes in London, blaff d'oursins in Martinique, and a $33 picnic on a no-frills flight to Miami. His eating companions include Fats Goldberg, the New York pizza baron and reformed blimp; William Edgett Smith, the man with the Naughahyde palate; and his six-year-old daughter, Sarah, who refuses to enter a Chinese restaurant unless she is carrying a bagel ('just in case'). And though Alice 'has a weird predilection for limiting our family to three meals a day,' on the road she proves to be a serious eater-despite 'seemingly uncontrollable attacks of moderation.'"
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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

By Michael Pollan

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"As the cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast food outlet confronts us with a bewildering and treacherous landscape, what's at stake becomes not only our own and our children's health, but the health of the environment that sustains life on earth. Pollan follows each of the food chains--industrial food, organic or alternative food, and food we forage ourselves--from the source to the final meal, always emphasizing our co-evolutionary relationship with the handful of plant and animal species we depend on. The surprising answers Pollan offers have profound political, economic, psychological, and even moral implications for all of us."

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Being Dead is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral

By Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays

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"In this deliciously entertaining slice of Southern life (and death), inveterate hostess Gayden Metcalfe explains everything you need to know to host an authentic Southern funeral, such as: Can you be properly buried without tomato aspic? Who prepares tastier funeral fare, the Episcopal ladies or the Methodist ladies? And what does one do when a family gets three sheets to the wind and eats the entire feast the night before a funeral?"

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Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living

By Julie Powell

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Julie Powell is 30 years old, living in a rundown apartment in Queens, and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that's going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life. So, she invents a deranged assignment: She will take her mother's dog-eared copy of Julia Child's 1961 classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and will cook all 524 recipes...in the span of just one year.

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