Whether it's a chef's memoir or a novel set in the kitchen, books that center around food have conjured up cravings, inspired us at the stove and opened us up to new adventures in dining. This is a list of our favorites: some fiction, some exposé, some popular, some obscure, but all in celebration of food. And since our 10 will doubtless not match yours -- this morning's Google search for 'books about food' turned up 337,000,000 hits -- please feel free to weigh in with your picks at the end.
Photo by quinn.anya via Flickr.
by: Laura Esquivel
This book, choc full of both recipes and gluttonous scenes, is the story of one sister using her Mexican culinary skills to steal the lover of another. It's food as a love spell, especially appropriate for when you've got a sibling rivalry score to settle.
by: Michael Ruhlman
Ruhlman was the 007 of culinary students, masking his Journalist title to go undercover at the CIA, the Harvard of cooking schools. He chronicles his experience in this intense and flavorful book, perfect for the day you want your food literature with a side of incognito.
For many, food is poetry, so this book seems like a natural instinct. The collection, which includes musings by a wide range of writers including John Updike, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson and even songster Cole Porter, celebrates food and drink at its most lighthearted. It's a perfect side dish to any festive feast.
Edited by: Kimberly Witherspoon and Andrew Friedman
When the pot boils over, your muffins fall flat or your blackened chicken turns out simply charred, pick up this book - a collection of your favorite chefs' most horrifying culinary calamities. On a day when all you've successfully made in the kitchen is a small fire, it's comforting to remember that even the likes of Anthony Bourdain have suffered their own spectacular failures.
6. Bread Alone
by: Judith R. Hendricks
In this novel, Wynter Morrison, a kept wife, finds herself kicked to the curb by a cheating husband. Having only one real marketable skill, she takes a job in a small Seattle bakery, which conjures up memories (and recipes!) of how bread, in its simple splendor, has livened up her life. Atkins dieters beware.