Pairing cookbooks with fiction

Mastering the Art of French CookingMany literary classics have inspired cookbooks, such as The Boxcar Children Cookbook or The Jane Austen Cookbook. Over at the website Book Riot, Dana Staves takes a different tack – she is pairing classic cookbooks with modern fictional tales. The idea is to make something from the cookbook, then enjoy the fruits of your labors while you dig into the fiction. She makes the match based on a number of criteria, often finding something about the books’ characters that relates to the cookbook author or its subject matter. 

For instance, in pairing Mastering the Art of French Cooking with Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart (yes, the same Amy Stewart who brought us the excellent cocktail book The Drunken Botanist), Staves notes that the book’s main character is a tall, formidable woman who possesses grit and determination – not unlike JuliaMomofuku Milk Bar Child. Staves matches Ottolenghi’s Plenty with Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. In describing the “flavor” of the book, Staves notes that it is about “Water, life, struggle, cultivation” – a suitable pairing with a cookbook that celebrates all things vegetable. 

Additional pairings include Momofuku Milk Bar with a book about female assassins, Joy of Cooking with a tome about family legacies and matriarchs, The Taste of Country Cooking with a book about deep connections to community, and Momofuku matched to a story of luck, determination, and taking chances. See all of the pairings on the Book Riot website.

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