While fall isn’t exactly in the air here on California’s Central Coast, it’s definitely on the calendar, and that means we at Parker Sanpei are yearning to cozy up with a good book. Fortunately for those of us obsessed with food and drink there’s no shortage of fascinating reads on the subject. Below, a few of our favorites.
Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany, Bill Buford
We’ve loved Bill Buford since the first time we read him in The New Yorker. But this book, about his (mis)adventures in Italian cooking, is by far our favorite of his works.
Man Walks Into A Pub: A Sociable History of Beer, Pete Brown
Called “an extraordinary tale of yeast-obsessed monks and teetotaling prime ministers; of exploding breweries, a bear in a yellow nylon jacket, and a Canadian who changed the drinking habits of a nation,” this book feels like meeting a friend at the pub – an incredibly knowledgeable, interesting, and funny friend who happens to love beer.
The Judgement of Paris, George M. Taber
California vs. France. And the winner is? We all know the story of the famous Paris tasting of 1976, but this book by the only reporter present brings the whole scene (and the fallout) vibrantly to life.
Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste, Luke Barr
This book is like our culinary/literary fantasy come true: a table set in the South of France surrounded by iconic figures James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones. Only this actually happened, and it changed the course of American cuisine forever.
Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table, Ruth Reichl
If Provence, 1970 was our fist culinary fantasy, Berkeley, 1978 is our second. In Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl details her relationships with Alice Waters, Colman Andrews, and Wolfgang Puck, among others, woven together with personal remembrances and epic meals.
Napa: The Story of an American Eden, James Conaway
From our friend Jim Conaway comes the remarkable story of what made Napa the kingdom of American wine that it is today, including stories from the many families who built its foundation (Gallo, Mondavi) to the new aristocracy.
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg
From the author of one of our favorite food/life blogs, Orangette, comes this beautifully crafted collection of stories and recipes from her childhood in Oklahoma, years abroad in Paris, and working-girl-singlehood in Seattle.