12 Culinary Memoirs You’ll Want to Read this Summer

Do you live, breathe and read food? The food memoir is one of our favorite literary genres, which makes sense given our culinary obsessions. From Ruth Reichl’s most recent memoir to a 1954 classic by M.F.K. Fisher, this list of favorites spans decades of thought and experience in cuisine. Put a few of these food memoirs on your list for summer vacation reading – you won’t be sorry. Read on for a tasty summer book list.

1. Save Me the Plums

Ruth Reichl has already written several gems of the genre: Comfort Me with Apples, Tender at the Bone, and Garlic and Sapphires, among others. But Save Me the Plums is about her decade helming Gourmet magazine, which became the food magazine to read under her direction.

2. My Life in France

Written in the last months of her life and published posthumously, this sweet memoir takes you past the impeccable recipes, and right to the heart of Julia’s experiences in France.

3. Blood, Bones & Butter

Chef Gabrielle Hamilton shares honestly and vividly in this beautifully written memoir about her childhood, love of food, role as wife, mother and chef/owner of the New York restaurant Prune. Hard to put down.

4. Yes, Chef

The unique voice of Marcus Samuelsson shines through in this memoir. His extraordinary journey from Ethiopia to Sweden to New York City (with many stops along the way) is moving and inspiring. Go on this journey with him.

5. 32 Yolks

This captivating book is an easy read that explains the difficult road to being a truly great chef but also being a great person. Chef Eric Ripert’s kind heart, humility, and empathy are palpable on the pages.  

6. The Art of Eating

One of the greatest of food writers (27 books!) M. F. K. Fisher is witty and entertaining. Her writing has made her immortal. A must for every culinarian, though do note, it’s a hefty book to bring on a plane if you’re heading to a vacation spot.

7. The Sweet Life in Paris

Those who read his excellent blog already know that David Lebovitz is an ex-pat chef and writer with a charming voice, keen eye, and mad skills in the kitchen. Explore Paris in all its confusion and glory with David, and prepare to laugh.

8. Buttermilk Graffiti

Part memoir, part road-trip, and part culinary history, this extraordinary book by Edward Lee takes you across the U.S. and into the kitchens of restaurants and homes to explore the origins of the people and the meals. A fresh type of food memoir.

9. The Cooking Gene

In this unique memoir, culinary historian Michael W. Twitty traces the roots of his family and the origins of soul food in the American south. There’s a lot packed in this well-written book.

10. Love, Loss and What We Ate

You know her from Top Chef but you’ll love her after reading this heartfelt memoir of a life balanced between India and America.

11. The Raw and the Cooked

This book is a collection of the late Jim Harrison’s legendary columns and articles on food. He was one of the great American writers, and food was one of his greatest passions. If you haven’t dipped into his magnificent writing on food, start here.

12. Life, on the Line: A Chef’s Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat

Chef Grant Achatz was well-established as a culinary talent when he was diagnosed with tongue cancer, and the treatment destroyed his ability to taste. A chef without a palate? This memoir goes deep.

This is a partial list – there are so many more we would love to include. What are your favorite food memoirs?

Since 1985, D’Artagnan has been at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, producing superior tasting products by partnering with small ranches and farms. We are committed to free-range, natural production, sustainable and humane farming practices and no use of antibiotics or hormones. That’s why D’Artagnan products have been revered by America’s most renowned chefs for over 30 years. We offer the same high-quality products to home cooks at dartagnan.com, along with recipes and guides to help you live the tasty life.

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