In anticipation of our all-staff vacation this week (picture us like this), we called up some of our favorite food writers to cull some book recommendations (see part one here, and stay tuned for part two later this week).
The ever-lovely Dorie Greenspan -- author of many books herself, including the forthcoming Baking Chez Moi, and creator of world peace -- sent us such a thorough and thoughtful response that we wanted to share the whole thing with you.
"At the top of the pile would be As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, edited by Joan Reardon. Julia and Avis are such great company -- smart and funny and caring, committed, talented, and wonderfully good writers -- that when I finished the book, I knew I was going to miss them...and I did. The letters can be read as a coming-of-age story of two extraordinary women, already middle-aged, but on the verge of coming into their own as professionals; as the journal of a friendship; as a detailed look at the writer at work; or, as Julia might say, 'a jolly good read.'
I’m waiting for a stretched-out moment to read Dan Barber’s The Third Plate from cover to cover (I’ve just been dipping in and out of it) and a summer vacation would be that moment. We all know that Dan is an amazing chef, a powerhouse in the push to make food better for all Americans, and a terrific speaker (if you haven’t seen his TED Talk, you should). With The Third Plate, we discover that he’s a first-class writer -- a reason to love him even more.
Unless you’re going away for a long time or you’re a very fast reader, this should be enough to make for a sweet vacation. However, I’ve got one more pack-along -- an unexpected one. I recently worked with a friend, a professional organizer, to thin out and arrange my cookbook collection, and we made a separate section for food writing. Just yesterday, I walked past those shelves and noticed that a Laurie Colwin book was there: not one of her food books, but an early novel, Happy All the Time. I fell in love with Laurie Colwin’s writing after reading her debut book, a collection of short stories, Passion and Affect. Looking back, I can see that there were glimpses of the food writer Colwin would become in almost all of the stories. Happy All the Time grew out of one of the short stories (of the same title) and, while it’s not food writing, it’s very good writing, and very good writing on any subject is a gift to be treasured."
Now sit with the feeling of wanting to hug Dorie Greenspan for a few minutes, then make some space in your suitcase for a few more books.
What books would you be reading right now if you had access to a hammock and some free time? We want to hear about them in the comments!