One of the prompts I gave myself for my 2021 reading challenge was to read at least three books about food. I threw this one in because A) I love books about food and B) I thought it would be an easy one because I read tons of books about food every year.
Not so much, it turns out. While I did read four books about food in 2020, two of them were from the Best American Food Writing series and one of them was pretty uninspiring. And when I went to look for food books on my TBR, there were only a handful. What gives? I love books about food, right? I thought it was my “thing.”
I took a look at my “maybe someday” book list. The “maybe someday” list is where I keep books that have been removed from my TBR during my periodic purges. There’s a lot on there that I’m never, ever, ever going to read (oh hi Ulysses, it’s never gonna happen). But as I scrolled through it, I noticed a ton of books that I’m still really interested in, including all of the food books.
I’m genuinely not sure why that is. It could be that I’m not as interested in this genre of books as I thought I was. But I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s one of those interests that I’ve de-prioritized as I’ve tried to diversify my reading. In either case, I’m really glad I chose it as prompt for this challenge; it’s an opportunity to spend some more time with a genre I’ve really enjoyed in the past and see if it’s still my thing.
I’ve gone through that “maybe someday” list and moved a bunch of books back onto my TBR. Here’s some of the top contenders:
- The Art of Eating and The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fischer. Fischer is one of The Classic Food Writers, and I’ve never read a word of hers.
- Eat, Memory: Great Writers at the Table, a Collection of Essays from the New York Times edited by Amanda Hesser. This is an anthology (another challenge, another thing I love) of essays by authors writing about food. I have no idea why I took it off my TBR because that’s 100% my jam.
- How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto by Eric Asimov. I group books about beverages in with food, and this memoir by chief wine critic for the New York Times (and Isaac Asimov’s son!) is *also* 100% my jam.
- La Bonne Table by Ludwig Bemelmans. Did you know the author of Madeline had a book about food? Me neither.
- Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti. It’s about books and food, and I haven’t read it yet? .
- Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin. I love a good food memoir, and this is a classic I haven’t read.
- The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael Twitty. I think the title is pretty self-explanatory.
- Women on Food edited by Charlotte Druckman. I really like anthologies, okay?