Food for the soul


While I’m on the subject of foodie-memoirs let me recommend a few more in addition to Alice B. Toklas.

Comfort me with Apples by Ruth Reichel

Reichel is obviously a legend when it comes to food writing but oddly enough this is the only one of her books that I have read(keep meaning to read more). She has written fiction,cookbooks and memoirs such as this; Comfort me with apples tells the story of how she came to write about food, her life as a food critic  and shares a bunch of recipes along the way. It’s funny,feel-good and hunger inducing. utterly enjoyable.

Two towns in Provence by M.F.K Fisher

Together with Julia Child,Fisher is probably one of the people who have done the most to spread the gospel of french cooking in America, and it reads well up here too. This is a classic and very good holiday reading (although if you haven’t read A year in Provence by Peter Mayle you should start with that).

Mastering the art of Soviet Cooking by Anya von Bremzen

This book is brilliant. I will continue to claim that my recipe for blini is better , but such a joy to read. Bringing together Von Bremzens memories of growing up in the Soviet union(and what she ate), and escaping communism by moving to America(encountering new food), she embarks on a cooking project with her mother. The aim is to cook through a classic soviet era cookbook and the results is a wonderful book; with history as a backdrop and food in the front it’s a memoir to savour. Read it now; while it’s still borscht-weather outside.

Where shall we go for dinner by Tamsin Day-Lewis

Day-Lewis is a well-known food columnist and cookbook writer. This book is a memoir of of a love story and the meals they shared. Richard E Grant uses the word “gastromance” on the back. Pretty much sums it up. Not the best in this lot but if you come across it cheap, then buy it.

Life is meals by James and Kay Salter

How I love this book. The subtitle is “A food lovers book of days” and that’s what it is. Every day of the year has an entry with a personal anecdote related to food and drink, a recipe or the history of an ingredient. I have read this from cover to cover once but keep it in the kitchen to browse when waiting for something to be ready. A continuous course of joy.

Trail of crumbs by Kim Sunée

This is not in the pic as my copy was forgotten at the cottage. But it’s a gem. Sunée was adopted from Corea by an american couple, and then came to live in both Sweden and France. She tells her story and the food she cooked along the way; a mix of southern cooking,kimchee and french classics. She has published another book but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I’ve probably forgotten a few that I’ve read(Julia Child etc), because I don’t have copies of my own, but at least I’ve made a few suggestions.

What are your favorite foodie-memoirs?






5 thoughts on “Food for the soul”

  1. “Comfort me with Apples! went to my tbr!
    “Mastering the art of Soviet Cooking” by Anya von Bremzen was translated to Estonian as well. I have not read it but I do love the simple food and Russian cuisine so I think I should look into it.
    I have old notebooks of my grandmother’s and mother’s that have recipes in them and it is amazing what they could make of such simple ingredients and limited stuff. I know most people have fond memories of childhood anyway but…. if I think of my grandmother’s pancakes, beetroot salad and Napoleon cake and puff pastry pies (she made the pastry herself none of that ready made stuff of course) I am filled with warmth.
    My early childhood was spent under the Soviet regime and for example I first got to try bananas when I was about 5 years old, when my dad went to run a marathon in Finland and brought us some. I remember the sensation of them being weird and mushy. I had my first hamburger when I was 10 or so (when the first McDonalds opened in Tallinn), so I never had those fast food etc temptations.
    Well the point of my ramble is that it was an awful time but I think people who cooked found their ways and the food then was just as excellent. And it definitely forced one to be more creative. And it has very strongly influenced my eating habits as a grown up – I still like food made from scratch, it is associated with home for me, the smell of it and anticipation of it being on the table. I like simple tastes where I can feel the taste of the fresh ingredients. I do experiment sometimes but simple home cooked stuff is what I love the most.

    1. I think most of us are influenced by our first memories of food and the habits surrounding it; my mother didn’t cook much and I think that has made me very interested in it; a case of the opposite becoming the thruth.

  2. ohhh and Life is meals by James and Kay Salter ! how come I didn’t know about that book?! in my list it goes, thanks for the good list!

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