One of my favorite literature genres is food memoirs. Who can resist Ruth Reichl’s Tender at the Bone: Growing up at the Table or Julia Child’s My Life in France? (or any memoirs by Reichl or Child – all are delicious!). Speaking of Julia Child, I recently read Judith Jones’ memoir The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food. Judith, a food editor who lived for many years in France after World War II, championed Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Many food memoirs take place in France, including another wonderful book I’ve written about in the past: Bonjour Kale: a Memoir of Paris, Love, and Recipes, by Kristen Beddard. There’s definitely a strong connection between France and food.
I am reminded of food memoirs by other chefs, such as Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, by Gabrielle Hamilton, and Dalia Jurgensen’s Spiced: a Pastry Chef’s True Stories of Trials by Fire (the titles in themselves are evocative descriptions). It’s so inspiring how many chefs are such good writers – Gabrielle Hamilton has a master’s degree in creative writing – and even moreso that they were able to take the time to write about their experiences.
And then there is the more spiritual aspect of food. I recently read Melissa D’Arabian’s Tasting Grace: Discovering the Power of Food to Connect us to God, One Another, and Ourselves. Melissa, the winner of the The Next Food Network Star, shares her life story with food, including her years living in France (where she met her French husband). It reminds me also of the book that several of us at Evergreen United Methodist Church studied last year: Taste and See: Discovering God among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers by Margaret Feinberg. At each session we brought food to share, based on food in the Bible, such as figs, salt, bread, and dates, and culminated with lunch at Tiqa.
These books are just the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully this list will whet your appetite to read some food memoirs, and enjoy food in general!