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Do you have recommendations about books (novels) with foodies as main characters?

I loved the Comisario Montalbano series (by Andrea Camilleri) and the Detective Carvalho books (by Vazquez Montalban).

asked by Pili Gómez over 2 years ago

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49 answers 1371 views
Susan W
Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 2 years ago

What a great question. Can't wait to see the answers.

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Pili Gómez
added over 2 years ago

Those of Montalbano (Italian) and Carbalho (Spanish) are awesome. Actually, Camilleri named his fiction character, Salvo Montalbano, after the author of the Carbalho series (Vazquez Montalban) since he was such a big fan of his books :) If you like the crime novel, I definitely recommend you to read them.

Uncle Jess
added over 2 years ago

Donna Leon's commissario Guido Brunelli series takes place in Venice. Besides the occasional banquet or other food event, each book has at least one incredible lunch cooked by his loving wife. And Brunelli is always on the lookout for a good snack. Death in La Fenice is the first of the series, probably available in your library. There is even a cookbook with recipes for all the meals described in the detective stories. Mouthwatering!

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Lmkltk
added over 2 years ago

Nero Wolfe by Rex Stout

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Smaug
added over 2 years ago

I've tried a number of foodie mysteries, none of which, other than Joan Hesse's "Diet to Die For" I would really recommend, but the Nero Wolfe books stand alone. "Too Many Cooks", which I believe was the second of the series, is my personal favorite, although somewhat non-pc by current standards- it dates from the 1930's.

Nancy
Nancy

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added over 2 years ago

oldunc - agree, most of the foodie mysteries pale quickly, and that Nero Wolfe stands alone. Don't know the Hesse book, but now want to find it.

witloof
added over 2 years ago

The Epicure's Lament by Kate Christensen.

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luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

Heartburn, by Nora Ephron
The Cookbook Collector, by Allegra Goodman (I am stretching slightly on foodie as main character but very good food writing)

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amysarah
amysarah

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added over 2 years ago

Not necessarily fiction about foodies, but where eating/food plays a big role: Like Water for Chocolate (Laura Esquivel); The Flounder (Gunter Grass); The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd); Babette's Feast (Isak Dinisen) - really a long short story....those come to mind, but others will probably pop into my head, now that I'm thinking about it! There's also Balzac's Omelette (Anka Muhlstein) - not a novel, but a fun book about food in Balzac's novels, where everyone is always eating!

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Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

Or where food & drink play a prominent role, even if the characters are not what we now call foodies?
For Victorian England, Dickens and Conan Doyle (for the latter, see especially Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle)
For Regency England, Jane Austen & Patrick O'Brian (shipboard hard-tack non-cuisine included).
For 20th century France, the Maigret detective novels by Simenon
For contemporary USA, there are many books featuring chefs, caterers or restaurant proprietors with, like the "Midsomer Murders" tv series, very high mortality rates in the neighborhood. One of the best series is by Julie Hyzy, set in the White House.

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creamtea
creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

Yes, I agree about Patrick O'Brian! Love those novels!

For Jane Austen, the Annotated Pride and Prejudice edited by David M. Shapard provides info about how meals were served during that era (a multitude of dishes, all set out at once, different dishes at different sections of the table).

cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

Yes, considering the murder rate, t's amazing there's anyone left alive in these English towns and villages!

Uncle Jess
added over 2 years ago

One of the ongoing subplots in Midsomer Murders (also found in the Caroline Graham books the characters originated in) was Tom Barnaby's almost good natured acceptance of his wife Joyce's culinary disasters.

cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

I've enjoyed Diane Mott Davidson's series featuring Colorado caterer/sleuth Goldy Schulz, at least partly because she has a walk-in refrigerator in her home that fuels my kitchen fantasies! :-) Ms. Davidson published an autobiography/cookbook in September that contains most of the recipes from her mystery novels. Because the story and characters develop, over time, I'd suggest starting with book one.

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QueenSashy
QueenSashy

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added over 2 years ago

Like water for chocolate.

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amysarah
amysarah

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added over 2 years ago

Ha, cookbookchick! Precisely my reaction to the endless PBS murder dramas - extraordinary number of murders in these small picturesque English villages, not to mention irascible, yet lovable inspectors to be forced out of retirement to investigate them!

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cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

LOL, any sarah! I remember one episode of Midsomer Murders where the ME character actually has a line poking fun of the many, many murders in Midsomer.

cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

*Oh, shoot! Autocorrect strikes again AMYsarah!

MMH
MMH
added over 2 years ago

Like Water For Chocolate
A Year in Provence

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MMH
MMH
added over 2 years ago

One more-

Chocolat

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Pili Gómez
added over 2 years ago

Wow! Thanks a lot for all the recommendations!! I'm going to check at my library to see what can I find

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Molly Fuller
added over 2 years ago

Delicious by Ruth reichl

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Maedl
Maedl

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added over 2 years ago

Marlena di Blasi, who was a chef then food writer, has written fiction and non-fiction in which food plays a major role. Her books include A Thousand Days in Venice, A Thousand Days in Tuscany, The Lady in the Palazzo. . . .

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cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

Oh, thanks for the reminder about her books! Delicious reads, highly recommended, but do start with the first book of her memoirs, A Thousand Days in Venice, in which she describes how she came to marry an Italian and move to Italy. It's $1.99 on Kindle today. Hmm.. I think I'll read it again!

luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

Kitchens of the Great Midwest

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Maedl
Maedl

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added over 2 years ago

In my previous post, I misspelled Marlena de Blasi--it is 'de', not 'di'.

This book, which I came across over the weekend, is non-fiction, but it looks like a good read, and it is only $2.99: http://www.amazon.com/Fannies...

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cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

By Chris Kimball, late of Cook's Illustrated. And what's with that??

Nancy
Nancy

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added over 2 years ago

CBC - I read an interesting feature in fall 2015 about 3 top food writers/editors leaving their positions - Kimball, Russ Parsons and Mark Bittman - in a short window of time. I''ll look for it and post link if I can find it.

cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

Thanks, Nancy, I would like to read it. While I subscribe online to the LA Times, I hadn't heard about Russ Parsons leaving, Too bad, he's my favorite of the three.

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Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

OK, here we are, one from food52 and one from LAT
https://food52.com/blog...
http://www.latimes.com...
Agree that Parsons was tops. He has left as editor, but apparently still writes for the paper.

cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

Phew! Maybe he'll have time to write even more now. Thanks for the links, Nancy.

aargersi
aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 2 years ago

The Last Chinese Chef
The Peculiar Sadness Of Lemon Cake

All of the Murder On The Rocks series - light and silly but, well, BROWNIES

I am reading Jacques Pepins autobiography right now, it's great!

OH well Animal Vegetable Miracle of course!!!

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cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

The Last Chinese Chef -- yes! And I just finished Jacques Pepin's charming autobiography and then I got to meet him at a book signing! My culinary idol and birthday twin! Such a thrill!

luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler

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Stephanie
added over 2 years ago

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

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HalfPint
HalfPint

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added over 2 years ago

Any of the Corinna Chapman series by Kerry Greenwood who gave the chic and adventurous Phryne Fisher. Corinna is a baker (an unapologetic full-figured woman who adores bread and cats) who runs a bakery below her flat. The series are mysteries, though not murder mysteries. Some recipes too. You'll love all the characters.

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Windischgirl
added over 2 years ago

It's a kid's book, but my daughter and I loved "Everything on a Waffle" by Polly Horvath. Much of the action takes place in a small-town restaurant, the youthful main character is a foodie, and each chapter ends with a recipe. I came home from work one day to discover my then-12 year old daughter had made the cinnamon buns from the book....not bad for her first attempt at a yeasted dough!

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pierino
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 2 years ago

Try Martin Walker's chief of police Bruno series, set in the Dordonge region of France www.chiefofpolicebruno...

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cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

Since we've already strayed from Phil's desire to hear about fictional foodies, here are a few food-related books I've really enjoyed, in no particular order:
-An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler (Such fine writing! I own both the print and Kindle versions so I can dip into it and reread whenever I want.)
-Stir by Jessica Fechtor
-Poor Man's Feast by Elissa Altman
-My Life From Scratch by Gesine Bullock-Prado
-The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken by Luara Schenone
-The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn
-The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber


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cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

*Laura Schenone

Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

Except for Adler's books (about which I agree wholeheartedly), so many unknown to me and yet to discover! Thanks...

cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

A literary feast awaits you, Nancy! :-)

Shannon
added over 2 years ago

Soy Sauce for Beginners by Kristin Chen

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drbabs
drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 2 years ago

Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford. The Inn at Lake Devine and The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman. Heartburn by Nora Ephron.

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Miafoodie
added over 2 years ago

My favorite books as a foodie: Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser, The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten, The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken by Laura Schenone, and Confections of a Closet Master Baker by Gesine Bullock-Prado. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did. . .

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cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

Two bargains on Amazon Kindle today: The Language of Baklava (non-fiction food-filled memoir that I highly recommend), and a cookbook, Eugenia Bone's The Kitchen Ecosystem, $1.99 each.

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cookbookchick
added over 2 years ago

And one more on Amazon today for your foodie middle-grade kids who like to read, 99 cents: Evertaster By Adam Glendon Sidwell

Eleven-year-old Guster is an Evertaster — a legendary being with taste buds so picky that he must set out on a quest for the most miraculous recipe in the world! A hilarious adventure with “wonderfully talented writing” (Orson Scott Card).

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