Last year, when I was writing my cookbook, I couldn’t read food writing. Even keeping up-to-date with my favorite blogs was a challenge. It was all I could to keep my own thoughts pulled together and reading the words of other writers left me distracted and fragmented.
Since putting the finished touches on the draft in the fall, I’ve been reading food books and memoirs like I have a deep thirst to quench. Here are the ones I’ve particularly enjoyed lately.
Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One’s Own
Fans of Jenna Woginrich’s blog Cold Antler Farm will find much to enjoy in her latest book. As someone who aspires to a slightly more homesteady life, Jenna’s story of building her farm is honest and uplifting.
Eating for Beginners: An Education in the Pleasures of Food from Chefs, Farmers, and One Picky Kid
The tale of a mother who cares a great deal about food and her son who won’t eat a bite of it. Written by Melanie Rehak.
Rurally Screwed: My Life Off the Grid with the Cowboy I Love
This the story of Jessie and her husband Jake; and tells the tale of how a city girl and a country boy found love and made it work. It’s not a food book exactly, but cooking, potlucks, gardening and preserving all play solid roles. Jessie also co-wrote a terrific canning book called Tart and Sweet that came out about this time last year.
Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch — Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods
As someone obsessed with making things at home that are often bought at the store, I’ve adored this book. Jennifer Reese has cooked her way through just about every household staple, as well as some more exotic ingredients and has an opinion about every single one. She includes entertaining anecdotes and is totally honest when it comes to offering advice as to whether to make or buy something.
An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace
There have been so many words of praise for Tamar Adler and her book. Here are mine. I adored this book, because it encourages cooking and does so in a way that leaving you longing to dash to the stove. I read it while vacationing at a bed and breakfast and it was all I could do to restrain myself from asking our innkeepers if I could borrow the kitchen for an hour.
Her message is that you can make a meal out of nearly anything and that eating well is as much about creative thinking as it is about anything else. If you’ve found yourself without much culinary motivation of late, read this book. It is certain to inspire.
Amarcord: Marcella Remembers
Most people know Marcella Hazan thanks to her simple pasta sauce. It’s the one in which you combine pureed tomatoes with some butter and a halved onion and let the whole thing simmer until delicious. However, she is so much more and this book tells her story.
I’d love to hear what food books the rest of you have been reading lately. Any recommendations for me?
Disclosure: I received free review copies of Rurally Screwed and Make the Bread, Buy the Butter. I bought the rest of the books mentioned here with my own hard-earned cash.