Non-cookery books that inspire our cooking

Non-cookery books 

Avid cooks often read cookbooks like novels, with the books always within easy reach: perched on the arm of the sofa, stacked on the nightstand, tucked into the ever-present totebag. We learn so much through these books, about technique and flavor combinations and the personalities of the chefs and authors who wrote them. But sometimes we learn about cooking through books that aren't cookbooks. Indexed blog The Kitchn shares five of their favorite non-cookery books from which they've gleaned knowledge that helps them in the kitchen.

The first book on The Kitchn's list is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. "If you've ever struggled to set up and keep good habits in the kitchen - washing the dishes every night, eating more of this and less of that, prepping food for the week on Sunday, cooking every day without fail - this is the book for you," they explain. Another title in the same vein is the The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. 

One unusual book that made the list is Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The Kitchn explains the selection by noting that for many cooks, "these books are the first thing that turned our attention toward cooking, preserving, and life in the kitchen." We can see how this book would inspire potential cooks, and note that it has also inspired an actual cookbook, The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker.

The Kitchn asked its readers which non-cookery books inspired them. Like Water for Chocolate came up many times. Books by M.F.K. Fisher received several mentions, as did memoirs from famous chefs or cookbook authors. Less well-known volumes included The Telling Room by Michael Paterniti (a novel about a man's search for the best cheese he can remember tasting), and Louise Penny's murder mystery novels, for their detailed and inspiring descriptions of meals.

Which non-cookery books have inspired your cooking or your work in the kitchen?

1 Comment

  • Jane  on  10/18/2015 at 5:42 PM

    There are so many but the first one that comes to mind is The Pedant in the Kitchen by Julian Barnes. In fact I must read it again soon. Others are The Sorcerer's Apprentices by Lisa Abend (about the young chefs at El Bulli), Heat by Bill Buford and all books by Ruth Reichl and Craig Rayner.

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