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Ten Great Books with FOOD & DRINK at their heart

2nd September 2021

Ten Great Books with Food & Drink at their heart.

Food & Drink is one of the most popular genre searches on the TripFiction site. Here we list ten of our favourite novels and memoirs in this mouth-watering category, from right around the world. We hope you salivate at our selection!

Ten Great Books with FOOD & DRINK at their heartThe Risotto Guru by Laura Fraser

A Sardinian wedding feast, the search for the perfect seaside pasta with wild fennel, meeting a risotto master: Laura Fraser journeys from the Spaghettis of her American childhood to savor the best of Italian cuisine and the culture that cooked it up. Using the same dreamy, delicious type of prose that made An Italian Affair a best-selling memoir, these essays will delight readers who loved that book, and all who love Italian food and culture. Sumptuous descriptions of Italian meals—and the passion that goes into them—make this e-book a mouthwatering, uplifting pleasure. In “Italy in 17 Courses,” Fraser uses the pace and order of the dishes in a wedding feast to muse on her own introduction to Italian food, and how it changed her from a diet-obsessed vegetarian to a pasta and pancetta connoisseur. “An Affair to Remember” explores themes of food and nostalgia, and how a good meal can lift the spirit.

Afternoons in Ithaca by Spiri Tsintziras

A charming memoir of self-discovery, family, connection and the power of a tomato. ‘I remember crusty just-baked bread, rubbed with juicy tomato flesh, swimming in a puddle of thick green olive oil. I am seven years old. I sit on a stool in my grandmother’s house. It is the height of summer in a seaside village in the south of Greece. We little Aussies devour ‘tomato sandwiches’ as the family chats and laughs and swats flies …’ From the first heady taste of tomatoes on home-baked bread in her mother’s village in Petalidi, to sitting at a taverna some 30 years later in Ithaka with her young family, Spiri Tsintziras goes on a culinary, creative and spiritual journey that propels her back and forth between Europe and Australia. These evocative, funny and poignant stories explore how food and culture, language and music, and people and their stories help to create a sense of meaning and identity.

Bread and Oil: Majorcan Culture’s Last Stand by Tomas Graves

On the island of Mallorca pa amb oli (bread and oil) is rubbed with garlic or tomatoes and salt, as it is in many other Mediterranean countries. Graves starts with this simple dish as a starting point to explore more cooking, traditions, agriculture, and historical influences that trace the dish back to Roman Times. This dish symbolises for the people of Mallorca their traditional roots and celebrates the resourceful nature, despite becoming a popular tourist destination and all the pressures that entails..

Map of Another Town by M F K Fisher

M.F.K. Fisher moved to Aix-en-Provence with her young daughters after the Second World War. In Map of Another Town, she traces the history of this ancient and famous town, known for its tree-lined avenues, pretty fountains and ornate façades. Beyond the tourist sights, Fisher introduces us to its inhabitants: the waiters and landladies, down-and-outs and local characters, all recovering from the effects of the war in a drastically new France.

Fisher is known as one of America s most celebrated food writers; here she gives us a fascinating portrait of a place. It is, as she confesses, a self-portrait: my picture, my map, of a place and therefore of myself. This is an intimate travel memoir written in Fisher s inimitable style confident, confiding and always compelling.

The Temporary Bride: A Memoir of Love and Food in Iran by Jennifer Klinec

In her thirties, Jennifer Klinec abandons a corporate job to launch a cooking school from her London flat. Raised in Canada to Hungarian-Croatian parents, she has already travelled to countries most people are fearful of, in search of ancient recipes. Her quest leads her to Iran where, hair discreetly covered and eyes modest, she is introduced to a local woman who will teach her the secrets of the Persian kitchen.

Vahid, her son, is suspicious of the strange foreigner who turns up in his mother’s kitchen; he is unused to seeing an independent woman. But a compelling attraction pulls them together and then pits them against harsh Iranian laws and customs.

Getting under the skin of one of the most complex and fascinating nations on earth, The Temporary Bride is a soaring story of being loved, being fed, and the struggle to belong.

The Umbrian Thursday Night Supper Club by Marlena de Blasi

Every week on a Thursday evening, a group of four Italian rural women gather in a derelict stone house in the hills above Italy’s Orvieto. There – along with their friend, Marlena – they cook together, sit down to a beautiful supper, drink their beloved local wines, and talk.

Here, surrounded by candle light, good food and friendship, Miranda, Ninucia, Paolina and Gilda tell their life stories of loves lost and found, of ageing and abandonment, of mafia grudges and family feuds, and of cherished ingredients and recipes whose secrets have been passed down through the generations. Around this table, these five friends share their food and all that life has offered them – the good and the bad.

Ten Great Books with FOOD & DRINK at their heartLunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard

“This is amazing,’ I said. ‘You have to give me the recipe.’ ‘There is no recipe,’ he said, smiling. ‘I use whatever I have. It never tastes the same way twice.’
I had no way of knowing, that first damp evening in Paris, how this man, and his non-recipes, would change my life.”

Has a meal ever changed your life?
Part love story, part wine-splattered cookbook, Lunch in Paris is a deliciously tart, forthright and funny story of falling in love with a Frenchman and moving to the world’s most romantic city – not the Hollywood version, but the real Paris, a heady mix of blood sausage, pains aux chocolats and irregular verbs.

From gutting her first fish (with a little help from Jane Austen) to discovering the French version of Death by Chocolate, Elizabeth Bard finds that learning to cook and building a new life have a lot in common. Peppered with recipes, this mouth-watering love story is the perfect treat for anyone who has ever suspected that lunch in Paris could change their life.

A Late Dinner by Paul Richardson

In this vivid and humorous journey, Richardson takes us past the cliches of paella and gazpacho to tell the real story of Spain’s mouth-watering food, from the typical coastal cuisine to the shepherd cooking of the interior and the chic ‘urban’ food of Madrid and Barcelona. Along the way he gets caught up in a fish auction and the annual pig slaughter, spends a day at El Bulli restaurant and makes a never-ending stream of new friends.

Culture Shock and Canapés by Pamela O’Cuneen

A young Australian working girl from London struggles to adapt to diplomatic life among the royal courtiers of Swaziland, in post-independence Zimbabwe and in Angola amid the gunfire of the civil war. She accompanies her husband, the striding KJ, on his African postings together with two English bull terriers and a large, redoubtable African tabby cat. As each country unfolds its challenges and discoveries she shares her delight, her wry humour, and keen sense of the ridiculous. In a darker mood we follow KJ in Somalia during the famine and in Rwanda after the genocide. The book will appeal to travellers: to those who have worked overseas and coped with culture shock. The writer, a psychologist, delves into history and sociology, revels in the bizarre and includes recipes collected along the way.…

Eat the City by Robin Shulman

New York is not a city for growing and manufacturing food. It’s a money and real estate city, with less naked earth and industry than high-rise glass and concrete. Yet in this intimate, visceral, and beautifully written book, Robin Shulman introduces the people of New York City – both past and present – who do grow vegetables, butcher meat, fish local waters, cut and refine sugar, keep bees for honey, brew beer, and make wine. In the most heavily built urban environment in the country, she shows an organic city full of intrepid and eccentric people who want to make things grow. What’s more, Shulman artfully places today’s urban food production in the context of hundreds of years of history, and traces how we got to where we are.

In these pages meet Willie Morgan, a Harlem man who first grew his own vegetables in a vacant lot as a front for his gambling racket. And David Selig, a beekeeper in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn who found his bees making a mysteriously red honey. Get to know Yolene Joseph, who fishes crabs out of the waters off Coney Island to make curried stews for her family. Meet the creators of the sickly sweet Manischewitz wine, whose brand grew out of Prohibition: and Jacob Ruppert, who owned a beer empire on the Upper East Side, as well as the New York Yankees.

 

What a great selection of books there is in Food & Drink! If you have any to add to the list, please do so in the Comments below…

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A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

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