Anthony Bourdain has a lot on his plate. But that isn’t stopping the food writer, chef, television host and all-around personality from creating his own line of books. The food world's bad boy has signed on as an acquisitions editor for Ecco Press, an imprint of HarperCollins. While we hope he’ll be dishing up delectable food memoirs, here are a few foodie faves to whet your appetite.
By Anthony Bourdain
Bourdain became a media darling and a culinary bête noire with this frank and unapologetic look at just what goes on in a restaurant kitchen. The executive chef of Les Halles chronicles it all, talking about the difficulties of each station, the excesses of chefs and staff, and why it’s not a good idea to order fish on Mondays. You’ll become a more educated diner while being wildly entertained.
‘James Beard’s Delights and Prejudices’
By James Beard
The granddaddy of American cuisine wrote this classic back in 1964 and it’s still a joy to read. Beard discusses his early forays into food as a kid in Portland, Oregon as well as his appearance on the first cooking television show in the 1940s and his subsequent cookbooks. You’ll delight in Beard’s stories and 150-plus recipes that round out the book.
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‘Garlic and Sapphires’
By Ruth Reichl
Face it: You’ve probably fantasized about being a food critic, expensing fat cat meals and writing behind a veil of anonymity. Or maybe that’s just us. Regardless, you’ll eat up Reichl’s memoir of her years as the food critic for the New York Times. She convincingly dons all sorts of various personas, struggles with work/life balance, and above all, eats her way through the best restaurants in the Big Apple. In a word, yum.
‘The Sharper the Knife, the Less You Cry’
By Kathleen Flinn
With her corporate job eliminated, Flinn packs her bags and knives and heads to Paris, enrolling in Le Cordon Bleu. Flinn’s forays and foibles at the famed school are punctuated with a recipe in each chapter, and as this American in Paris pursues her culinary passions, she discovers love as well. Paris, good food, true love; what’s not to like?
‘Blood, Bones & Butter’
By Gabrielle Hamilton
“Blood, Bones, and Butter is, quite simply, the far-and-away best chef or food-genre memoir...ever. EVER.” So says Anthony Bourdain. The restaurateur proves herself a graceful, spirited writer, as she shares the New Jersey upbringing that gave way to teenage years eating ketchup packets in New York, working long days in catering, scrounging her way through Europe, and finally opening her East Village restaurant Prune. Throughout it all, her love of food and the connection it brings result in a satisfying read.
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By Matthew Amster-Burton
You may have a picky eater in the family. Heck, you yourself may have refused to eat anything but macaroni and cheese when you were a kid. Whatever the case, you’ll applaud Amster-Burton’s determination to expose his little one to a wide range of foods, including sushi, spices, and wine-laced dishes. Simple doesn’t have to be boring or processed, and Amster-Burton — with wit and lively writing — offers up loads of tips and easy-to-make recipes that parents will embrace.
What food memoir would you give a four-star rating?
New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Worick has published more than 25 books. Also a publishing consultant, she can be found at The Business of Books.