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Yes, I read cookbooks. Cover to cover. I love the inspiration, the photography, and the stories that come along with the recipes. But I also read “real” books. A lot of them about food. What can I say, it’s a hobby. Here’s what’s on my list for the summer.
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Food Books for Summer Reading
- The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart I found this interesting little read in a bar in Dublin while admittedly enjoying a cocktail break from Guinness [more on that here]. I admit, I primarily maintain a small garden for the cocktail ingredients, so this book spoke to me. I envision sipping cucumber-lime-mint vodka concoctions on my deck while this book serves up a little mixologist inspiration. buy it on amazon
- The Salt Book by David Glynn I picked this up after enjoying dinner at Salt in Amelia Island and a salt tasting at the nearby shop. The range and complexity of salt was eye-opening, and I can’t wait to expand my palate with this book. buy it on amazon
- The Ten Restaurants that Changed America by Paul Freedman It may sound like a simple foodie history book, but an interview with the author and the critical reviews tell you it’s so much more. Jane Kramer of the New Yorker found herself contemplating what it means to “participat[e] in the coded language of what we eat and how it is prepared and who is sitting at all those tables around us”. I think we’ve all been reflecting on race, class, gender, and family roles these days, and I’m looking forward to more food for thought. buy it on amazon
- The Widow Clicquot by Tilar J. Mazzeo This is an older one that I’m committed to getting around to this summer. It just seems the time to read about the Champagne empire and the woman who ruled it. buy it on amazon
- First Bite: How we Learn to Eat by Bee Wilson I adore the Gastropod podcast. It combines three of my most passionate interests: food, science, and history. Cynthia and Nicola’s interview with Bee Wilson was a fascinating dive into the science behind how we learn what we like to eat, and what we don’t. Parents of small children or picky eaters [like me!] should find this particularly helpful. buy it on amazon
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Cookbooks for Summer Reading [and Cooking!]
- Life in Balance by Donna Hay While I’ll never go completely paleo, I’ve definitely tried to focus my home cooking on “whole” foods. When good weather hits, we start exploring the world of vegetables. This beautiful cookbook just begs you to get inspired at your farmers’ market, and I can’t wait to test it out this season. buy it on amazon
- Mozza at Home by Nancy Silverton After an interview with Nancy on a recent episode of the Bon Appetit foodcast, I knew she was the chef for me. This cookbook focuses on the kind of family style entertaining I love to do, focusing on excellent ingredients artfully prepared. Summer dinner guests, get ready! buy it on amazon
- Keys to the Kitchen by Aida Mollenkamp Did I mention I buy cookbooks as souvenirs? This one came home from a Napa trip, and fed another habit of mine — kitchen “textbooks”. I probably should have gone to culinary school, as I admit I’m a bit academic about cooking and food. This one looks like a practical home-cook addition to the reference library. buy it on amazon
- Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook I’m a dedicated Ina fan. Her recipes simply work. Hers are probably the only recipes I will execute for the first time when hosting guests, as I know they will be spot on. After learning so much about cooking and entertaining from her earlier books, I’m excited to see what she has to say about cooking for the love of one’s life. buy it on amazon
- Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstratch I’m mostly through this one, and already know I will read it again. Jenny’s story is my story – figuring out how to maintain a love of food, cooking, and entertaining while raising a young family. Full of “you got this” encouragement, it’s the perfect cookbook for any new parent, whether they like to cook or not. buy it on amazon
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What’s on your summer reading list? Leave a comment and let us all in on the fun!
Follow my manuals board on Pinterest for more of my favorite food books, and what I’m reading next. Happy summer reading to all of us!