Food Stories

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Food Stories

We often think of the "food" section at the library as a collection of cookbooks. While that is partly true, there is also a wealth of adventure among these shelves beyond recipes and diets. Most of our experiences -- childhood, friendships, career, etc. -- are shaped by or shared in the context of eating with other people…or sometimes alone. Here are a few of those experiences.

Tender at the Bone: Growing up at the Table by Ruth Reichl
In Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table (1998), four-time James Beard Award-winning food writer and restaurant critic Ruth Reichl serves up a memoir full of life and love, loss and survival, and, of course, food. In revealing the food stories and recipes that have shaped her life, Reichl reveals something larger: a saga of a family, a celebration of friendships, and a journey of self-discovery. Ultimately, what Reichl presents is not really a food memoir but a testament to the relationships that sustain us and the stories that nourish us.

What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food that Tells Their Stories by Laura Shapiro

“Tell me what you eat,” declared the philosopher of gastronomy, Jean Brillat-Savarin, “and I will tell you what you are.” His aphorism provides the starting point for a study of six women and their relationship with food by the American journalist and food historian Laura Shapiro. Shapiro argues that not enough attention has been given to the role of food in ordinary life stories. Inspired by a passage in Dorothy Wordsworth’s diary, in which the poet’s sister mentions a meal of blood pudding -- “that stodgy mess of blood and oatmeal,” as Shapiro warily describes it -- she examines six very different lives from the vantage point of diet.

Heat: an Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford
Acclaimed author Bill Buford had long thought of himself as a reasonably comfortable cook when in 2002 he finally decided to answer a question that had nagged him every time he prepared a meal: What kind of cook could he be if he worked in a professional kitchen? When the opportunity arose to train in the kitchen of Mario Batali’s three-star New York restaurant, Babbo, Buford grabbed it. Heat is the chronicle -- sharp, funny, wonderfully exuberant -- of his time spent as Batali’s “slave” and of his far-flung apprenticeships with culinary masters in Italy.

International Night: A Father and Daughter Cook Their Way Around the World: Including More than 250 Recipes by Mark Kurlansky and Talia Kurlansky
Once a week in the Kurlansky home, Mark spins a globe, and wherever his daughter's finger lands becomes the theme of that Friday night's dinner. Their tradition of International Night has afforded Mark an opportunity to share with his daughter, Talia -- and now the readers of International Night -- the recipes, stories, and insights he's collected over more than thirty years of traveling the world writing about food, culture, and history, plus his charming pen-and-ink drawings, which appear throughout the book.

To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Philip Greene
Ernest Hemingway is nearly as famous for his drinking as he is for his writing. Throughout his collected works, explorations of the delights of imbibing engaged both his characters and his readers. In To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion, Philip Greene, cocktail historian, spirits consultant, and co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, offers us a view of Hemingway through the lens Hemingway himself preferred - -the bottom of a glass. This bartender's manual for Hemingway enthusiasts offers a unique take on Hemingway's oeuvre that privileges the tastes, smells, and colors of the cocktails he enjoyed and the drinks he placed so prominently in his stories that they were nearly characters themselves. To Have and Have Another delivers fascinating and lively background on the various drinks, their ingredients, their histories, and the characters -- real and fictional --associated with them.