For your consideration - a list of the 25 best food memoirs


Now is the time we're all compiling lists of books to request for the holidays, so I wanted to post this list from Grub Street  of The Top 25 Must-Read Food Memoirs of All Time for your consideration. No cookbooks here, and only one book per author, but still intriguing. Here's their criteria:

"The list itself is comprised of picks from a number of chefs and writers, as well as Grub Street's own choices. When ranking, we factored in a book's originality, lasting appeal, influence on the genre, and - most important - how enjoyable it is to read."

Here's the list - visit the site for descriptions of each book and information about why each book was chosen:

25.Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang
24. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
23. The Devil in the Kitchen by Marco Pierre White
22. The Telling Room by Michael Paterniti
21. A Tiger in the Kitchen by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
20. The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
19. Born Round by Frank Bruni
18. Blue Plate Special by Kate Christensen
17. The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin
16. Climbing the Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey
15. Shark's Fin & Sichuan Pepper by Fuschia Dunlop
14. Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin
13. The Raw and the Cooked by Jim Harrison
12. The Man who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten
11. Alice, Let's Eat by Calvin Trillin
10. California Dish by Jeremiah Tower
9. When French Women Cook by Madeleine Kamman
8. Heat by Bill Buford
7. Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl
6. Between Meals by A.J. Liebling
5. My Life in France by Julia Child
4. The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher
3. Toast by Nigel Slater
2. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
1. Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

We'd also add that anything by M.F.K. Fisher is worth reading, and certainly Laure Colwin's follow-up book (More Home Cooking), Ruth Rechl's (Comfort Me With Apple, and Garlic and Sapphire), and more of Calvin Trillin's would have made the list if more than one book by an author was allowed. 



  • jzanger  on  11/10/2013 at 7:36 PM

    Thanks for compiling this list! Some of the titles are new to me and I'll be looking in to them. I read a great little-known food memoir several years ago that has stuck with me, entitled "Last Chance To Eat" by Gina Mallet. I'd recommend it!

  • sir_ken_g  on  11/10/2013 at 8:43 PM

    Great list. The only one I have read is Shark's Fin & Sichuan Pepper by Fuschia Dunlop. It was excellent as are all her cookbooks. You don't really expect an English girl to write great Chinese cookbooks - but she does. Her recipes always seem to taste very authentic and a cut above.

  • anniette  on  11/10/2013 at 9:00 PM

    James Beard: Delights and Prejudices; Nika Hazelton: Ups and Downs; Mimi Sheraton: Eating My Words; Joseph Wechsberg: Blue Trout and Black Truffles; James Villas: Between Bites; Suzanne Taylor: Young and Hungry.

  • ellabee  on  11/12/2013 at 2:26 PM

    Edna Lewis' The Taste of Country Cooking is as much a food memoir as a cookbook.

  • pwsnook  on  11/14/2013 at 1:31 PM

    I've read all of Ruth Reichl's memoirs and she is a great story-teller with great stories to tell!

  • boardingace  on  11/22/2013 at 12:14 AM

    Thank you so much for this list!! I just read and mostly enjoyed "Four Kitchens" about a young chef who apprenticed in Paris, Tel Aviv, Vietnam, and New York (molecular gastronomy). I will look forward to perusing this list when I'm looking for a new book to read. Thanks again!

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