I love all things food. I love the process of it all: grocery shopping, cooking, and eating. I especially love reading novels about food and cooking because give me plenty of recipe inspiration. Not to mention they make me wish for a comforting bowl of beef stew or a nice glass of red wine.
Warning: make sure you have plenty of snacks before reading any of these books. Even better, make one your next book club read and serve food inspired by the recipes in the novel!
8 Droolworthy Novels For Foodies
Delicious! by Ruth Reichl: Famous restaurant critic has beautifully captured the food mecca that is New York City. West coaster Billie Breslin has an amazing talent: with just a few tastes, she can name all the ingredients used (or missing) from a dish. Instead of using her skill in her passion for baking, she forgoes any sort of cooking to work as assistant to the editor of Delicious! magazine. Just as she gets settled in, the magazine is abruptly shuttered. She takes a lonely job of maintaining the magazine’s hotline in order to pay her bills. Reichl’s vivid descriptions made me wish I could hop the next train up to New York for my food pilgrimage.
Chocolat by Joanne Harris: Yes, both the chocolate and Johnny Depp are incredibly drool worthy in the movie version. But if you haven’t read the book, you’re missing out. Harris beautifully weaves magic and whimsy with plenty of decadent chocolate to draw out the small villages’ dreams and desires. Definitely buy that box of chocolates before you cozy up with this novel.
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen: A blend of food and magic, the novel explores two women who lives are opposite of the other. Josey escapes by reading romance novels and eating junk food in her closet. The town’s bad girl mysteriously shows up and starts living in her closet and Della Lee turns Josey’s life upside down. One more thing, Della Lee refuses to leave Josey’s closet. Each chapter is named for Josey’s favorite sweets, so make sure you stock up on some chocolate bars before reading!
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister: My friend Erin of Read-at-Home Mama recommended this book to me. Every month, students gather at Lillian’s restaurant for her cooking class. They each have struggles outside the kitchen: a new mother struggling with her new identity, an Italian immigrant adapting to American life, a young widower among others. As they slice, chop, and stir in class, they students discover more than a delectable dish to fill up their bellies.
Vanity Fare: A novel of lattes, literature, and love by Megan Caldwell: Who doesn’t love a book about classic literature and food? Newly single, Molly starts her culinary writing career by penning luscious descriptions for New York’s newest, soon-to-be hot bakery. It was supposed to be a simple job, but she soon finds herself the center of attention of two men. This fun, witty novel will make you wish for flaky croissants and decadent danishes.
The Naughty Girls Book Club by Sophie Hart: With her suburban bakery cafe ailing, Estelle starts a book group in order to gain more customers. The first meeting falls flat as the strangers attempt to discuss classics. Before her new customers bolt, she suggests an erotica book club instead. Don’t let the title fool you. This novel isn’t about blindfolds and chains. You’ll fall in love with each book club member as they rediscover themselves in the process. And Estelle’s baked goods are to die for–if only paper tasted as good as her muffins.
The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy: One of our past virtual book club selections, this novel has stuck with me. There’s story behind every pastry. That’s what freelance writer Reba discovers when she visits Elsie’s German Bakery. Reba discovers Elsie’s life before she immigrated to the United States. Elsie was a young German struggling to survive at the end of World War II. Over coffee and handmade baked goods, Reba finds answers she didn’t even know she was looking for.
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel: I couldn’t create a list of drool worth books without including this classic. Tita, the youngest daughter in a Mexican family, is fated to remain unmarried in order to take care of her mother. She’s not allowed to marry her love Pedro. Instead, he marries her older sister in order to be near Tita. While Tita can only love him from a far, she imbues every dish she makes with her current emotions. Everyone who eats it can feel the love and passion (or distress) she cooks into her food. After you read the book, make sure you watch the (steamy) movie version!
Post image adapted from photo by David Leggett via Creative Commons.