There are two ways in which I prefer to spend my time: cooking and reading. In an alternate universe, I would be a food blogger, YA fiction author or own a cozy brick-and-mortar bakery. Instead, I get my fill from indulging in books about food—my two great loves colliding to satiate both my mind and stomach.
From deliciously detailed novels to non-fiction tales about the culinary industry’s best and brightest, food lovers can rejoice in the abundance of literature that exists to covey the pleasures of eating and cooking. And it’s safe to say that no one understands the power of a good book better than local hubs, The Hoboken Public Library and WORD in Jersey City. Together, we’ve compiled our favorite food-related reads that are sure to feed your soul this winter.
The Hoboken Public Library
Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
This fascinating memoir was written by the celebrity chef renowned for Harlem’s Red Rooster restaurant, as well as Marcus B&P, located in Newark. He was born in Ethiopia and adopted by parents in Sweden. He worked his way up from apprentice and tells how his life experiences influenced his art.
– Victoria Turk, Reference Assistant
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
If you are in the mood for a dose of magical realism Sarah Addison Allen is the author for you! An engaging story about one woman’s quest to expand her world with the help of a fairy godmother, “The Sugar Queen” celebrates the joys of food, books and friendship.
– Aimee Harris, Head of Reference
Word Jersey City
The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty
A wonderful examination of the influence that the African American community has had on southern cuisine. Michael Twitty’s ability to restore this forgotten food history automatically solidifies its spot as a culinary classic.
– Deidre Dumpson, Operations Director
The Best American Food Writing 2019 ed. by Samin Nosrat
This book is a beautiful collection that forces the reader to know the cultural, historical and individual influences of food. Be prepared to laugh, get angry, celebrate the history and so much more with the essays in this book.
– Ashante Smith, Bookseller
An Omelette and a Glass of Wine by Elizabeth David
Hands down the greatest food writer of our time. Not many writers can speak to the care that cooking deserves and inspire you to do the same. READ THIS BOOK!
– Davi Marra, Retail Director
The Digest Staff Pick
The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
I was gifted this book a few years ago by my editor, who’s well aware of my affinity towards food. And in this case, also dogs, considering the protagonist travels around with her Irish Wolfhound companion named Salty. Author Louise Miller, a successful novelist and professional pastry chef, paints the story of baker Livvy Rawlings who leaves Boston to work at a rural Vermont inn. Full of dreamy country landscapes, small town gossip, romance and an annual pie contest—it’s the ultimate wintertime read.
– Abby Montanez, Editorial Assistant