Great Books for Foodies

Inspired by the recent media frenzy over Julia Childs with the popularity of the movie, "Julie & Julia," book critic and author of "Between the Covers," Ellen Heltzel, joined us today to give us her picks for great books for the foodie. 

BOOKS FOR THE FOODIE (A riff on the current craze for all things Julia Child)

1. "Why Italians Love to Talk About Food: A Journey Through Italy's Great Regional Cuisines, from the Alps to Sicily," by Elena Kostioukovitch. The title speaks for itself: Anyone who has ever eaten Italian cuisine or been to Italy will enjoy this new tome, which promises you'll never draw a blank again when someone tosses around words like "carbonara" and "pomodoro." With a name like Kostioukovitch, you might assume the author is not a native, and you're right: She's the Russian translator for the Italian man of letters Umberto Eco, who wrote the foreword. For book geeks, that's some endorsement!

2. "Confections of a Closet Master Baker: One Woman's Sweet Journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker," by Gesine Bullock-Prado. Recipes are sprinkled through this memoir about a woman who ditched the film business to open a bakery in Vermont, and not one will fit on the Atkinson diet. But anyone who remembers their childhood through the food they ate will find a kindred spirit on this true story about one woman turning her passion into profits.

3. "The Various Flavors of Coffee," by Anthony Capella. Capella's recipe for good reading isn't original: Take one part food and one part romance, mix with a well-paced plot and, voila: You've got an engrossing novel. This one is set a hundred years ago in England and a poet who is forced to use his gift for words to sell coffee. But this tasty formula has been adapted worldwide, and for the most obvious of reasons: There's an appetite for it.

4. "The Pleasures of Cooking for One," by Judith Jones. OK, I confess, this is a cookbook. But it comes from a legendary cookbook editor and writer and has a very personal spin: After her husband died, Jones accepted the challenge of learning how to make meals an occasion and eat well when alone. Her book is full of appealing recipes but, more important, it emphasizes that a healthy diet is built on planning and preparing food rather than just shoveling calories. 


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