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This topic is right up my (Lori) alley! I love food. I love reading about food. I love making food. I love eating food. I'm surprised I'm not 84,000 lbs.
1. Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan--This book is basically what it seems on its face: a comedian rhapsodizing on food. Yes, I think the American diet is horrible, but you can't deny that most Americans love their food. :)
2. Life Is Meals: A Food Lover's Book of Days by James Salter and Kay Salter--The book is divided into 365 short entries, one for each day of the calendar year. Each entry has a note about entertaining or recipes or a variety of food related topics that helped make me a better cook and hostess.
3. An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler--Filled with essays on food, this book forever changed the way I make scrambled eggs and boil pasta.
4. Heartburn by Nora Ephron--Ths novel describes the end of Ephron's marriage to Carl Bernstein. It also contains a few recipes by Ephron, a known foodie.
5. Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living by Julie Powell--I loved this book! I love how Powell used cooking to change her life and pull herself out of a major rut. It's one I think of whenever I get a little blah about my life.
6. Fannie Flagg's Original Whistle Stop Cafe Cookbook--This cookbook has so much yes. Full of amazing southern style recipes, it added a fantastic tweak to my already near-perfect fried chicken recipe and gave me my chili recipe (which has needed very few tweaks over the years). Highly recommend.
7. 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know: Engagement Chicken and 99 Other Fabulous Dishes to Get You Everything You Want in Life--This is my go-to cookbook whenever I know someone getting their first apartment. It has everything. Yes, the recipe titles might be a little strange or creepy (Let's Make a Baby Pasta? Seriously? But it is damn good pasta, with a nice kick of spice!). It's very budget-friendly and has so many recipes that I always recommend it.
8. Made in Italy by Giorgio Locatelli--I first heard of this cookbook in one of those celebrity reading lists. It's a huge book, with a pretty good-sized price tag, which kept me from purchasing it for quite a while. I finally found a good used copy. :) It is full of food porn and for that I love it.
9. Audrey at Home: A Kitchen Table Biography by Luca Dotti--What a wonderful idea for a biography! Hepburn's son compiled photographs, details, and recipes that say so much about the beloved actress and humanitarian. I love the idea of using someone's favorite foods to tell their story! If anyone ever writes a biography about me, this is how I want it to be done!
10. To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Phillip Greene--A book of alcoholic recipes related to the novels and stories of one of my favorite authors? Yes, please!
Honorable Mentions:Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker--I haven't read it yet, but it sounds fun.
Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford--I love Italian food. Probably more than I should. This sounded like a good read.
Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble--I've started and stopped this one a few times. Sometimes it delves a bit more into the science than I am really interested in knowing, but I love the idea of using my dollars to make a statement.