Originally published in: 2014
What it’s about: A novel about Billie, a food writer hopeful, who goes to work for a prominent gourmet food magazine as an executive assistant and stumbles upon some letters from World War II between a girl in the Midwest and legendary chef James Beard.
What made me pick it up: I was listening to Ruth Reichl’s most recent memoir My Kitchen Year and googling all sorts of details about her and her life. I decided to see what else Overdrive had of hers and this novel was available in audio. Boom.
My favorite things: If you are a foodie or a lover of Manhattan then this is for you but my favorite part was the shout out for Ohio. The young girl writing letters hails from Akron and in researching what happened to the letter writer heads back to the Buckeye State to explore Cleveland. I always enjoy when books, or even part of them, are set somewhere other than New York. While most major developments were predictable the weaving of story and development of characters was charming and you really are happy when everything turns out all right in the end.
Who it’s great for: Cooks. Clevelanders. Foodies. Fans of charming stories of finding yourself again with the help of good friends and good food and some historical intrigue.
Pick up this book from Amazon (affiliate link) or your local library.
Originally published in: 2015
What it’s about: A chronically drunk punk in his late twenties goes on a quest to eat every pizza in Manhattan and blog about it. His love for New York deepens and he finds meaning for himself and reasons to sober up along the way.
What made me pick it up: Erica left this on my desk for me because I talk about eating pizza a lot.
My favorite things: Okay look, I didn’t grow up in New York so I don’t think that they have the greatest pizza on Earth, but at some points he almost had me convinced. Hagendorf strikes a good balance between backstory, pizza reviews, and the Harvesting experience. He’s self-deprecating but fun.
Who it’s great for: Fans of food memoirs. People with strong opinions about pizza. Greaseballs, dirtbags, true weirdos, and the people that love them.
Want a copy? Find one at Amazon (affiliate link) or see if it’s available at a library near you.
Originally published in: 2016
What it’s about: Lohman identifies eight flavors that she believes are integral to and representative of American cuisine and explains the history behind each.
What made me pick it up: I was browsing new books just before lunch and something about food sounded appealing.
My favorite things: I found it interesting to read the reasons behind each flavor’s inclusion. Lohman does a good job of providing historical context for each and discussing the impact of immigration on cuisine. She also visits a variety of production facilities and it’s kind of cool to get a peek into how the different flavors are cultivated. Plus, there are recipes included for each flavor if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
Who it’s great for: Fans and readers of culinary history. Cooks and food lovers interested in the story behind the flavors they enjoy.