Culinary Writing






(Robert L. Wolke, Norton)
Science in the kitchen. Wolke, a columnist for the Washington Post, offers explanations, humour and some pretty engaging recipes. Unlike many other books of this nature, Wolke wields a lively and light pen.

The Tenth Muse, My Life in Food, 
Judith Jones Anchor Books 2007
Without Judith Jones, we might never have discovered Julia Child. It is Ms. Jones, acquisitions editor and publisher par excellence who first saw the promise in the once unknown Julia Child, James Beard, MFK Fisher, Claudia Roden, Lindia Bastianich and Edna Lewis. A wonderful read with recipes (of course!).

What Einstein Told His Chef

Salt, A World History (Mark Kurlansky, Walker and Company)
A view of the world through the centuries via the salt shaker. Fascinating reading.

Comfort Me With Apples (Ruth Reichl, Random House)
Not for the tame of heart, or the prude. This is a the spirited tale of a food writer told via recipes and tell-all adventures. From a great chapter on MFK Fisher to the beginnings of Wolfgang Puck. A fun, engaging read.

Between Bites (James Villas, John Wiley and Sons)
Recipes and reminiscences from one of America’s more respected food critics and self-proclaimed hedonists. A fascinating book if you have followed food at all in recent decades.

From Hardtack To Home Fries (Barbara Haber, Free Press)
An uncommon history of American cooking. A treasure chest of photos and profiles that captures a bit of everything from war food, to the frontier, to the suburbs, the American melting pot, and more. From the American doyenne of culinary librairians (Barbara Haber of Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College).

Crazy in the Kitchen, Louise DeSalvo Bloomsbury Books 2004
  A well written, entertaining read  of ‘food, feuds and forgiveness in an Italian Family”. There are many books like this but each is special in its way. This is particularly well written – articulate ,with warmth and a ton of food. Highly recommended. Already in the ranks of a classic on food writing and memoirs.

Eating My Words, Eve Johnson, Whitecap 2003
A totally enjoyable read about food, from a food journalist, writer and editor and some fabulous recipes to match. As many books as there are in this vein, this is a sleeper. Read it, then cook each and every recipe, from an Canadian culinary icon.

Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain Bloomsbury 2000, the famed tell-all by a chef-enfant terrible of the professional kitchen. From Provincetown to Paris and New York, this is a fast paced insider’s look at the restaurant kitchen. It is funny, frank, buzzy and informative as it is lusciously gossipy. It cuts no corners in food or narrative and leaves you breathless and hungry – at the same time.

Schott’s Food and Drink Miscellany, Ben Schott, the perfect food gift for the intellectual, foodie who is a fact collection. This is a charming little book with a vintage feel, and all sorts of helpful food basics (and trivia) at your fingertips. It is a compact volume yet contains almost an encyclopedia of food information, from international cooking terms, blessings for bread, and the menu from the Nobel Prize ceremonies.

Cake or Death, Heather Mallick, Knopf Canada 2007
Despite the word cake in the title, expect only one recipe in this tightly sewn together collection of essays by columnist and writer Mallick. Forget the soft wit of Nora Ephron and literary nostalgia of Annie Lamott, Mallick’s essays are sharp, brave and honest – they are actually, in your face honest – hoisted to higher ground by the excellence of the writing (as well as the perceptions) itself. The writing is indeed, fine and the humor pointed but – nothing rings truer than…truth which is why despite the negative tone to many of the essays, no one can walk away from the truth nor not give it is due. If Mallick can as a writer, surely we, as the reader, can do the same. Some of the essays reach poignancy in their simple, unblinking stating of the obvious –things so obvious many of us think and never even say them to ourselves or bring them up for examination. One such essay How to Ignore Things which seems at first about just that:  ignoring things –  is actually about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the absolute lonely walk of a woman who comes from ‘bad money’, married into more ‘bad money’ and witnessed in a way no one recovers from, her husband’s assassination.  From such dire topics, Mallick rants on email and men, and waxes lyrical on her love of books and foreign countries and far more.

Life, Death and Bialys, Dylan Schaffer, Bloomsbury 2006
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