Snack after reading

A quick look at my Instagram account will reveal one powerful, inalienable truth: I’m obsessed with food.

Whether I’m cooking it, presenting it, photographing it or, you know, eating it, food and I go way back. This has manifested itself in a variety of ways — including going up a dress size — but never has it been more obvious than when scrolling through the 500-plus snapshots I’ve shared.

And through my reading, apparently. If the plot revolves around a cooking class, a market or a bakery, I’m salivating — and reach for the paperback. I’ve recently noticed an upward trend in “foodie fiction” — stories centering on eating, baking, the restaurant life. From Melissa Senate’s The Love Goddess’ Cooking School to Erica Bauermeister’s The School of Essential Ingredients, popular characters are perfecting their culinary skills — and often falling in love in the process.

I love these plots. I’ll make no bones about it, y’all; I adore a good love story, and talking macarons and wedding cakes as well is a quick way to win me over. There’s just something warm and comforting about foodie fiction. I rejoice in mealtimes and love trying new things, I suppose, so getting to “travel” through another’s kitchen is delightful.

As long as I’m not reading on an empty stomach.

Of the books I’ve read in the foodie fiction and non-fiction categories lately, I’ve distilled my favorites into this collection. Glancing through the 2012-13 line-up, it looks like we have much to look forward to in the way of food-related reading — including Megan Caldwell’s Vanity Fare, which sounds delectable. I’ll bring my fork.

A sampling of fun foodie fiction

Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford

To plagiarize myself, Ford incorporates fresh prose and likeable characters in this Julie & Julia-esque look at one woman learning to cook following tons of personal tumult. Rachel’s adventures in the kitchen were funny and realistic, and I finished this slim book wanting another 100 pages. She would make an awesome dinner host — and everything sounded delicious.

Friendship Bread by Darien Gee

When it comes to baking, Gee’s characters might not think they have what it takes — but a shared batch of friendship bread, which becomes a yeasty chain letter, unites the characters in her small town.

“You know that cozy feeling that envelopes you when you take a bite of warm chocolate cake, homemade cookies, fresh-baked bread or apple pie? Well, Darien Gee does, too — and that’s exactly how she created Friendship Bread, one of the most heartwarming books I’ve read in a long time,” I wrote in 2011. And darn if I wasn’t totally right. This cozy read sucked me in.

The Bake-Off by Beth Kendrick

An epic sister rivalry, a baking contest, an adorable grandmother, a fantastic-sounding apple pie recipe — everything blends beautifully in Kendrick’s novel, which I read and enjoyed last year. It’s fun and frothy, sweet and fun — but with heart. And even after getting ten kinds of complicated, the baking contest sounded like a blast.

How To Eat A Cupcake by Meg Donohue

Between its San Francisco setting, drama and delicious treats, Donohue’s novel centering on two unlikely friends coming together to open a bakery drew me in — and left me with a powerful craving for sweets. Though the novel had a few “Um, what?” moments for me, it kept my interest throughout and had me wanting to do some serious late-night baking.

Have any other fun, food-related recommendations? Please share them in the comments. I’m always up for a new taste sensation.

11 thoughts on “Snack after reading

  1. Great list! I’ve just delved into my first slice of ‘foodie fiction’ – Jenny Colgan’s ‘Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe’. I’m loving it so far. Cute characters, romance and cake! It even has the recipes included, which I think is a nice touch.

    It is making me want to open a cake store though… which is a worrying thought.

    Claire –


  2. I love food fiction as well! There are tons of cozies organized around food – cupcake baker mysteries, cake decorator mysteries, etc! But I even love foodie nonfiction! It manages to read like fiction, I think, or maybe I just love the food parts so I don’t care! LOL One story of a chef I really liked was Spiced by Dalia Jurgensen, and Founding Foodies by Dave DeWitt, about the role the founding fathers played in bringing certain foods to America, and what the colonists ate and why!


  3. I just read and reviewed How to Eat a Cupcake, I am now craving cupcakes! I like foodie fiction too, and also recently read a cozy mystery that was food themed, State of the Onion. I love you food posts and photos…yummmm!


  4. Yes to the not being able to read them on an empty stomach, you need to have have dinner or be eating at the same time in order to concentrate. I didn’t love it completely, but Nichole Bernier’s The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D has quite a lot of food references, the main character being a chef. And Eat the City was very good, more industry, but some of the descriptions made me want to pack and and start farming!


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