Need a Good Read for the Holidays? We’ve Got a Dozen

December 22, 2017

This month, our Cookbook Club has been cooking through Kristen Miglore’s Genius Recipes. Member Julia Fabrin Jakobsen shared a photo of a perfect Genius cold-weather combo, Spicy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, and casually mentioned: "Kind of funny that the grilled cheese recipe is by Gabrielle Hamilton, as I’m currently reading her autobiography!"

This passing comment prompted a lively larger-group discussion about the best food-related books we've all read this year. In case you're looking for a good read, we've narrowed down their favorites to 12 of the best from this year.

Photo by Mark Weinberg
  1. 32 Yolks by Eric Ripert with Veronica Chambers
  2. What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories by Laura Shapiro
  3. The Christmas Chronicles: Notes, Stories & 100 Essential Recipes for Midwinter by Nigel Slater
  4. My Mother's Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and the Meaning of Life by Peter Gethers

Tracy O'Halloran shares:

My Mother’s Kitchen by Peter Gethers is a funny and moving memoir about Peter’s mother, Judy Gethers, who was the daughter of the owner of New York’s famed Ratner’s restaurant. She was very good friends with several famous chefs. The book includes several recipes that are Judy’s favorites. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I laughed out loud and sobbed numerous times while riding the subway when I was reading this.

5. The Little French Bistro: A Novel by Nina George

Shop the Story

6. The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael Twitty

7. The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South Hardcover by John T. Edge

Jack White recommends both #6 and #7, saying:

I have two favorites, both cultural explorations of the food of the south from slavery through to the civil rights movement, and today. One is The Potlikker Papers by John Edge, current head of the Southern Foodways Alliance and the other is The Cooking Gene by Michael Twitty, which is a much more personal account of how southern food and cooking helped form his character and who he is.

8. Give a Girl a Knife: A Memoir by Amy Thielen

9. The Comfort Food Diaries: My Quest for the Perfect Dish to Mend a Broken Heart by Emily Nunn

Nanda Garber says:

The Comfort Food Diaries is funny, heartbreaking, heartwarming, well-written, and has recipes!

10. Truffle Boy: My Unexpected Journey Through the Exotic Food Underground by Ian Purkayastha with‎ Kevin West

Mindy Friedmann Duff exclaims:

How many time can I vote for Truffle Boy???????????? It is fascinating.

11. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

12. Butter: A Rich History by Elaine Khosrova

Fill us in on your favorite food-related reads in the comments, and if you'd like to get involved with the Cookbook Club, head here for details on how to participate and what books we’ll be covering in the new year.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.