What does it mean to be a foodie? It’s a tireless pursuit of cuisine in all its forms and expressions. It’s an understanding that food begets life, and that even apparently ubiquitous experiences can be transformative. If this describes you, surprise—you might be a foodie yourself. Pick up one of these books for foodies and discover the joy of eating via the medium of the written word.
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Marcus Samuelsson’s life has not been simple, but one thing is for sure: food has been his companion through it all. Born in Ethiopia, Marcus and his sister were adopted into a Swedish family when they were both very young. He recalls how each Sunday, he and his Swedish grandmother would gather and prepare a roast chicken for dinner. His novel is a memoir of his life and the painful sacrifices he’s made along the way—including forgoing a relationship with his daughter. Though he has left his grandmother’s Scandinavian kitchen to become one of the most famous chef’s in the world (he even catered for the Obamas), he brings us back to where it all started.
Anthony Bourdain, one of the world’s greatest chefs, has unveiled the mysterious and self-indulgent world of professional chefs in his fascinating novel, Kitchen Confidential. Bourdain left Vassar University to work in a seafood restaurant, and from that moment on he worked alongside culinary masters in the most extraordinary establishments. He reveals secrets of the kitchen underworld—the debauchery of the life and the mechanisms of how restaurants really function. Bourdain’s wisdom is indispensable, especially if you’ve ever considered opening a restaurant. Even if you haven’t, you can learn something of Bourdain’s past and the bewildering complexities of being a chef.
Lillian, a restaurateur, decides to offer cooking classes once a month out of her bistro. Her ability to craft stunning dishes out of simple ingredients attracts a group of eight students, all who seek food to fill some void in their lives. Bauermeister masterfully portrays the sensuous art of cooking as not only an art form, but a mechanism to cope with life’s most impossible moments. The preparation of each dish stirs the souls of the cooking class, giving the audience insight into their innermost struggles. A must read for food lovers, fiction lovers, and anyone who wants to lose themselves in the emotive experience that cuisine can often bring.
Bill Buford left his job at The New Yorker for a position at Mario Batali’s hectic kitchen, Babbo. He immersed himself in the culinary madness of Batali’s kitchen, a frightening step for a man whose culinary experience started and ended in his own kitchen. As a novice, his naivete made for a troubled start in Batali’s kitchen, but Buford grew to love Italian cuisine. Eventually, he furthered his culinary studies in Italy, learning how to make pasta and butcher hogs from Italian masters in Tuscany. Bill Buford’s humorous evolution from a frantic student to a learned Italian chef might inspire you to do something insane—but worthwhile—too.