One night, over a beautiful Italian dinner, my partner asked me, "So, what exactly is a foodie?" I — as someone who adores food and has been known to obsessively snap photos of my dishes and drinks — quickly explained it's really just someone who has a particular interest in food. Definitions may vary, but it really comes down to one thing: a foodie someone who eagerly explores food. One of the best ways to explore food (other than by eating it) is by reading one of these 11 new books for foodies.
My father is a chef, so I never had much of a choice other than to eat anything and everything put in front of me. As a kid, broccoli was my favorite food, and I idolized Julia Child. To this day, I always want to try something new on a menu because, well, why not?
While there are plenty of Instragram foodie accounts to follow, and a whole lot of food videos to watch on the internet, there are also many fantastic books that dive into the delectable culture of being a foodie. From fictional adventures in the kitchen to memoirs of famous chefs, these 11 new books celebrate the art of good food. Life is short, and you deserve to eat (and read) something wonderful.
1. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
Tess is looking for purpose in life. Instead, the 22-year-old lands herself a job at a renowned NYC restaurant. You'll sink your teeth into every page as Tess learns the ropes of the industry, falls for a bartender, and makes a new life for herself through it all.
2. The Memory of Lemon by Judith Fertig
In The Memory of Lemon, Claire “Neely” Davis is pastry chef who tastes peoples emotions. This comes in handy when she's creating the delectable desserts people crave. It's a gift that has never failed her... until she meets a free-spirited bride and her high-society mother who can't agree on a single detail. Neely has her own problems: a divorce, a new relationship, the re-emergence of a long-absent father. As she tries to please the bride-to-be, she also learns a thing or two about her own issues. This novel is bursting with flavors, charming characters, and baked goods you'll instantly crave.
3. Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi
If you're a foodie, you're probably familiar with Padma Lakshimi, host of Top Chef. Before she became a reality television personality, Padma spent time in her grandmother's kitchen. There, she learned that the food we eat is just an extension of how we love. Her memoir describes her relationship with food, details the women in her life, and offers some incredible wisdom on love and loss.
4. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
Lou, a talented chef in Milwaukee, is desperately trying to keep the doors of her French restaurant open. She's mostly doing OK... but then she finds her fiancé in a compromising position with the intern. That same day — the worst day of her life — Al, a new food critic in town, stops in to review Lou's food. Needless to say, his review is not positive. When the two accidentally run into each other at a local bar, Al asks Lou to show him the best of her town. She agrees, under one condition: they can't talk about work. He agrees, and they embark on a romantic foodie journey throughout the city of Milwaukee.
5. The Restaurant Critic's Wife by Elizabeth LaBan
Lila Soto has a husband who takes his food critic job a little too seriously. When she and her husband move to Philadelphia with their two kids, he decides to remain anonymous, so he doesn't threaten his professional credibility. But as his obsession with anonymity begins to complicate matters, Lila begins to wonder about the things she's keeping hidden in her own life.
6. Food Whore by Jessica Tom
After an internship in NYC goes up in flames, Tia Monroe is left in the big city with nothing but her dreams and her love of food. By chance, Tia meets a legendary New York Times restaurant critic who has lost his sense of taste — a fact he wishes to keep secret. He hires Tia to ghostwrite his reviews. He promises her lavish meals and extravagant experiences in exchange, so she says yes. But Tia begins to grow frustrated seeing her reviews published with a different name, and she begins to question whether or not she's on the right path.
7. American Foodie by Dwight Furrow
Any foodie who loves the artistic expression of food will enjoy this book. American Foodie takes a close look at the trend of turning food into art and the ways food has culturally evolved in the era of celebrity chefs.
8. Dirty Chick by Antonia Murphy
This hilarious book is perfect for the foodie who's contemplated dropping everything, moving to the country, and farming their own food. Antonia Murphy details her journey from San Francisco to New Zealand as she, her husband, and her son take up a more natural lifestyle.
9. The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh
When Gigi's sister wins a million-dollar cooking contest, they both move from their trailer park in South Carolina to a wealthy suburb in Long Island. Gigi and her sister cook up a "recipe for success" — and it involves getting Gigi the best possible education. But what happens when Gigi begins experimenting with other recipes for success? This is a gorgeous coming-of-age story that any young foodie will adore.
10. 32 Yolks by Eric Ripert
In this memoir, Éric Ripert details his path to becoming one of the best known chefs on the planet. Before he owned a Michelin Guide three star restaurant, Ripert was a lonely boy in France. In this coming-of-age story, he details how his passion for cooking helped him find his true home — and his true calling.
11. Food and the City by Ina Yalof
This book is an insider's look at New York City's food scene. This is a must-read — both for those who live and dine in NYC and those who dreaming of doing so.