In the Summer you need a book or two that you can take on a plane or to the beach. These are the my picks for Summer reads:
My Fat Dad: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Family with Recipes
I think I was afraid this book by a nutritionist would be about dieting. It turns out it is and it really isn’t. It’s all about family and author Dawn Lerman paints such vivid pictures of hers that the recipes are just an added bonus. From the very beginning her feelings are tied up with those who feed her and those who don’t. You can feel the plastic covers on her Bubbe Mary’s couch and smell her dad’s “closet” brownies. And even if you didn’t grow up in Chicago in the 70’s, or move to NYC and go to school on the Upper East Side, you can’t help but relate to her memories of her dieting dad, frustated mom, beloved younger sister and especially her doting grandmother Beauty. The book is all about her love for and evolving relationships with her family, her heritage and yes, food adventures of her own. It’s got lots of humor and is a fun read. It's out in paperback.
My Organic Life: How a Pioneering Chef Helped Shape the Way we Eat Today. I really didn’t know much about Nora Pouillon before reading this book, but I felt like I got to know her as I read it. Her memories of growing up in Austria post World War II (and a few memories that go back even further) took me to another time and place not just physically but emotionally. You really understand her passion for all things organic and wholesome through this book. The recipes are all at the end of the book and mirror her own journey from old world to new. From the alps in Austria to Vienna to traveling around Europe and finally to Washington DC, her life takes many unexpected twists leading to a strong sense of purpose. Her revelations in the book are both honest and brave. It's available in paperback.
Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Food and Family
While their are many memoirs with recipes, Life Without Recipes as the title might indicate, is not one of them. The book delves deeper into the relationship author Diana Abu-Jaber has with the two sides of her family—one German and the other Jordanian. It’s hard not to be seduced by Abu-Jaber’s beautiful writing and easy to appreciate how like cooking without a recipe, she finds her own path through trial and error, with plenty of sucesses and failures along the way. But like a great meal, it is satisfying and has a sweet ending. Hardcover.
All or Nothing: One Chef’s Appetite for the Extreme.
I read this book which came out in paperback, last year. I took it on a trip last Summer and could not put it down. It’s about a young man, a budding chef, and his descent into drug addiction and finally his redemption. You can tell from reading the book that author Jesse Schenker has great potential and passion but also a self-destructive tendency that feels at times like it will never quit. The book takes you into some deep dark place—from kitchens to jails and detox centers— but it’s a compelling, some might say “addictive” read. No recipes but plenty of cooking. Paperback.
Disclaimer: This post includes Amazon affiliate links and these books were provided to me as review copies.