Food sustains and heals us, brings us joy, occupies time and brings
people together. As such an integral part of life, it is no wonder
that food is the focus of so much reflection. Many great authors
have combined their gift for observation and cooking to write
thoughtful, often amusing, books about life, love and food. Here's a
The late Laurie Colwin put into words what many feel about friendships, family, love,
joy, sorrows and food. Two of her books, Home Cooking and More Home Cooking, are
collections of writings from Gourmet Magazine,
in which she offers recipes and personal
musings on food. Her thoughts on homemade gingerbread after school,
eggs sunny-side-up, roast chicken and black bean soup all speak
volumes to the reader about her life.
"On the surface her novels and stories are modest, as
deceptively simple as a plate of fresh biscuits. But take a bite, and
you discover a subtle, perfectly executed balance of tenderness and
tang," said book reviewer Laura
Shapiro of Ms. Colwin and her writing.
Frances Mayes takes her
reader to the vibrant region of Italy called Tuscany. In two books,
Under the Tuscan Sun
and Bella Tuscany,
she, an American, chronicles life in a new country where food and
wine are synonymous with life. In this country where family and
friends gather for much of the afternoon to dine, she learns to make
olive oil, finds that the skin of peaches peels off like a fine silk
slip, fires up her Tuscan kitchen and doesn't feel guilty about
napping at 9:00am.
In France, like in Italy, good food and wine is a way of life. Peter
Mayle explores the beauty of Provence, its people, tranquil lifestyle
and sumptuous cuisine in A Year in Provence. Illustrating just how
important food is to the people of this lush land, he says their
"sole concession to punctuality" is lunch.
The author of Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel,
begins each chapter with a recipe and continues telling a sensuous story of
longing, unrequited love, family obligation and adventures in food.
The Tummy Trilogy by Calvin Trillin is a
compilation of three of the author's musings on food:
American Fried, Alice Let's East and
Third Helpings. "Trillin will be
enjoyed by anyone who admires good writing, even those readers who
are not especially partial to food writing," said the American Library Association's BookList.
In Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table, author Ruth Reichl,
takes you on the journey of her love affair with food. From her
early days of trying to prevent her mother from giving everyone food
poisoning to her many years as the New York Times restaurant critic,
food has played a significant role in Reichl's life. Now as the
editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine, she
continues to regale her audience with tales of fine cuisine.
From dessert at an Indian restaurant to really good barbecue, Jeffrey
Steingarten, food critic for Vogue and sometimes judge on Iron Chef America, has strong
opinions about food. He has spent days baking the perfect loaf of
bread, adores french fries and struggles with basting poultry.
Steingarten shares all of these experiences and more in his book The
Man Who Ate Everything.
a summary and excerpts of the book.
Perhaps of all those for whom food is a muse, M.F.K. Fischer is the
most well-known. She has been called the "doyenne of food writers."
Through her books such as The Art of Eating,
The Gastronomic Man, Here Let
Us Feast and How to Cook a Wolf, she has truly explored the world of
food and its relationship to life. Of cooking she says, "No recipe
in the world is independent of the tides, the moon, the physical and
emotional temperatures surrounding its performance."