7 Food Memoirs That Will Make Your Mouth Water

Warning: These books will leave you hungry for food, travel, and adventure. Bon appetit!


32 Yolks: From My Mother's Table to Working the Line, by Eric Ripert with Veronica Chambers

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“Food—shopping for it, making it, eating it—was my greatest happiness,” writes the renowned chef behind New York’s Le Bernadin. In his memoir, named for the 32 eggs required to make a hollandaise sauce, Ripert shares how the kitchen became his refuge as he grew up with an abusive stepfather in southern France and Andorra. There, he learns to cook beside his mother, who took just as much care setting the table for his after-school snack as she did for a dinner party, and the eccentric chef behind his favorite local restaurant, Jacques. When Ripert finds himself apprenticing under the mercurial, but brilliant, Joël Robuchon, Ripert realizes that early pain has equipped him for the brutal, but exhilarating work of being a professional chef. Heartbreaking, funny, and inspiring, this coming-of-age tale will leave you wanting seconds.

To buy: $19, amazon.com.


Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship, by Isabel Vincent

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A journalist for the New York Post befriends her pal’s 93-year-old father who saw no reason to go on after his wife’s death. Before long, the pair meet for weekly dinners at Edward’s Roosevelt Island apartment where he prepares elaborate French meals—without recipes, of course. As Edward learns to live without his beloved wife, Vincent learns just how unhappy she is in her own marriage and the two forge a strong bond in this sweet memoir. With each roasted chicken and apple galette, Edward teaches Vincent not only how to cook, but how to savor life.

To buy: $14, amazon.com.


Food and the City, by Ina Yalof

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Go behind the front lines of New York's expansive food scene in this fascinating collection of personal culinary histories. While you will recognize some names (e.g., Dominique Ansel, creator of the cronut), youll also meet some unlikely characters. Like Pauline Johnson, a cook at the Rikers Island correctional facility, and Lenny Berk, an accountant who decided he wanted to slice lox and ended up being the only person Woody Allen’s mother would allow to take her order at the Zabar’s counter. Oral historian Ina Yalof expertly conveys each subject’s personality, showing the grit and determination it takes to make it in the food industry. But, hey, if you can make it in New York...

To buy: $19, amazon.com.


Picnic in Provence: A Memoir with Recipes, by Elizabeth Bard

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What begins as a family vacation becomes more permanent when Elizabeth Bard and her husband, along with their baby, decide to buy French poet and resistance fighter Rene Char's former home in the French countryside. Rebelling against their old life in Paris, the couple sink into their quiet, Provençal life and open an artisanal ice cream shop. Join Bard on her journey as she learns to be a first-time mother and an expat in a small village. Like Bard's 2011 outing, Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes, this charming book is peppered with delicious recipes such as cherry clafouti and zucchini blossoms stuffed with goat cheese, mint, and anise seeds. Pour yourself a glass of rosé and dig in.

To buy: $16, now available in paperback at amazon.com.


Driving Hungry: A Delicious Journey, from Buenos Aires to New York to Berlin, by Layne Mosler

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Layne Mosler hopped in a cab in Buenos Aires and asked the driver to take her to his favorite restaurant. One life-changing steak later, the Taxi Gourmet blogger sets out on an around-the-world adventure trying foods recommended by, you guessed it, taxi drivers, and even dabbles in driving herself. Join the adventure as she samples the smorgasbord of life.

To buy: $14, now available in paperback on amazon.com.


A Colander, Cake Stand, and My Grandfather's Iron Skillet, by Erin Byers Murray

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A trusted knife. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a world-class chef, every cook has a favorite kitchen gadget. In this book Nashville-based food writer Erin Byers Murray shares stories from 37 chefs (including Jody Adams, Chris Kimball, and Norman Van Aken) about their prized possession, how they came to acquire it, and why they love it. Through each tool, you gain insight into the chef’s cooking history, philosophy, and technique. As an added bonus, each chef provides a recipe utilizing the particular tool so that you can get inspired at home.

To buy: $17, amazon.com (available July 15).


Super Sushi Ramen Express: One Family's Journey Through the Belly of Japan, by Michael Booth

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Think outside the California roll and join British food and travel writer Michael Booth, his wife, and two young sons on a three-month gastronomy tour of Japan. Along the way they meet sumo wrestlers, pamper cows with massages and beer, and visit a restaurant where they must catch their noodles as they rush down a mountain river. Yes, really. Be prepared to experience intense wanderlust—and hunger.

To buy: $14, available September 6 on amazon.com.