97 books like Blood, Bones & Butter

By Gabrielle Hamilton,

Here are 97 books that Blood, Bones & Butter fans have personally recommended if you like Blood, Bones & Butter. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South

Elijah Douresseau Author Of The Long Takeout: Short Stories for the Hungry Sojourner

From my list on food fiction to inspire eating and reading.

Who am I?

Food has always been my existential retreat from the world. Whether eating solo or with people, countless meals have been the best hyperbolic time chambers for strengthening relationships with others and with myself. And I’ve always wanted to write, to participate in ageless forums of subject and technique in this great literary tradition of ours. I guess these two art forms and obsessions were bound to lock horns in my aesthetic makeup. In my world, good reading is good eating. It’s that simple. No other qualifications are needed. I inhaled the following books and was made full every time – to eventually take a stab at a couple of recipes also.

Elijah's book list on food fiction to inspire eating and reading

Elijah Douresseau Why did Elijah love this book?

There is a reason my book starts with a quote from this very book. It’s the collection’s rallying cry!

Twitty took me on such a journey of history and identity through food. The deeply historical and regional cooking and agricultural methods of the enslaved detailed in this work were the intersections and the canvas for revisiting historical timelines.

This is a nonfiction book, but it embodied my aspirations for making food in literature a forefront topic. I’ve never done any serious ancestry profile surveys, but this may be my favorite version – as a child of Jamaican immigrants wholly descended from the African/slave diaspora. A food writing master class.

By Michael W. Twitty,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Cooking Gene as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2018 James Beard Foundation Book of the Year | 2018 James Beard Foundation Book Award Winner inWriting | Nominee for the 2018 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction | #75 on The Root100 2018

A renowned culinary historian offers a fresh perspective on our most divisive cultural issue, race, in this illuminating memoir of Southern cuisine and food culture that traces his ancestry—both black and white—through food, from Africa to America and slavery to freedom.

Southern food is integral to the American culinary tradition, yet the question of who "owns" it is one of the most provocative touch points in our…


Book cover of Crying in H Mart

Christine Ma-Kellams Author Of The Band

From my list on From Christine's list of books for BTS fans.

Who am I?

I discovered BTS a few years ago right in the middle of an era when the world was falling apart and everyone was stuck at home. I know they’ve gotten a lot of people through hard times, but for me they did something arguably more life-changing: they inspired me to write my debut novel featuring a Kpop band who has also achieved worldwide domination, but in my fictional story, must face cancellation, violence, and a retributive girl band who disbanded under the most tragic of circumstances. Now that we’re waiting for BTS’ return from military service, I hope that these books will help hold us over until their return. 

Christine's book list on From Christine's list of books for BTS fans

Christine Ma-Kellams Why did Christine love this book?

In my defense, I read this book long before Jungkook recommended it, and it single-handedly became my gateway drug into memoir. I had never heard of Japanese Breakfast beforehand, but no matter—hers was the kind of story around food and loss that I found incredibly relatable in feeling, even if not in the actual details. 

By Michelle Zauner,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Crying in H Mart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2021

The New York Times bestseller from the Grammy-nominated indie rockstar Japanese Breakfast, an unflinching, deeply moving memoir about growing up mixed-race, Korean food, losing her Korean mother, and forging her own identity in the wake of her loss.

'As good as everyone says it is and, yes, it will have you in tears. An essential read for anybody who has lost a loved one, as well as those who haven't' - Marie-Claire

In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer,…


Book cover of Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Kayla Anderson Author Of Moon Northern California Road Trip: Drives along the Coast, Redwoods, and Mountains with the Best Stops along the Way

From my list on embarking on epic adventures from your armchair.

Who am I?

I was born and raised in Northern California, right on the banks of the Sacramento River. While I didn’t realize it growing up, it was an epicenter for outdoor adventures. Along with skiing, snowboarding, hiking, wakeboarding, and camping, I always read a lot. My dad was worried that I would have no sense of direction because I was always in the back of our van or RV reading a book. That led to writing…and I had my first article published in a wakeboarding magazine when I was 15 years old. Traveling always took a backburner to reading, but now it’s front and center of my writing. 

Kayla's book list on embarking on epic adventures from your armchair

Kayla Anderson Why did Kayla love this book?

Anyone who has ever worked in the food or hospitality industry—as a cook, a waitress, a hostess, a barista, or otherwisecan identify with this book.

The restaurant business is a different beast, and Anthony Bourdain took a huge risk in writing this and burning bridges with his bosses and coworkers. But in doing so, he unlocked the universal hidden language that food and hospitality workers share.

As a former hostess/waitress myself who spent most of her college years with a part-time job at IHOP and the Golden Waffle, I could relate to a lot of what Bourdain experienced working in NYC, especially with minority groups and how they were treated during that time. He was a huge inspiration to a lot of people, including me. 

By Anthony Bourdain,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Kitchen Confidential as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE CLASSIC BESTSELLER: 'The greatest book about food ever written' 'A compelling book with its intriguing mix of clever writing and kitchen patois ... more horrifically gripping than a Stephen King novel' Sunday Times 'Extraordinary ... written with a clarity and a clear-eyed wit to put the professional food-writing fraternity to shame' Observer _____________________________ After twenty-five years of 'sex, drugs, bad behaviour and haute cuisine', chef and novelist Anthony Bourdain decided to tell all - and he meant all. From his first oyster in the Gironde to his lowly position as a dishwasher in a honky-tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown;…


Book cover of Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India

Leslie Karst Author Of Justice is Served: A Tale of Scallops, the Law, and Cooking for RBG

From my list on food memoirs about transformative personal journeys.

Who am I?

Since childhood, when my best friend and I would experiment together with recipes from the Time-Life Foods of the World cookbook series and then gorge on the delectable results, I’ve been enamored of food and cooking, a love which eventually led me to pursue a degree in culinary arts (while simultaneously spending my days as a research and appellate attorney). In addition to Justice is Served, I also write the Sally Solari Mysteries, a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California. 

Leslie's book list on food memoirs about transformative personal journeys

Leslie Karst Why did Leslie love this book?

Madhur Jaffrey—the actress/author/celebrity chef whose cookbooks opened up to an entire generation of Brits and Americans the wonders of Indian cuisine—taught me to cook Indian food. And then this beautiful memoir taught me to appreciate the history and culture from whence her recipes spring. A heartfelt and vivid tale of growing up in northern India under the shadow of the coming world war, Climbing the Mango Trees is the story of family, spicy cauliflower (and yes, mangos, too!), and the ability of food to evoke memory and unite us all. 

By Madhur Jaffrey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Climbing the Mango Trees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

'I was born in a sprawling house by the Yamuna River in Delhi. When I was a few minutes old, Grandmother welcomed me into the world by writing 'Om', which means 'I am' in Sanskrit, on my tongue with a little finger dipped in honey. When the family priest arrived to draw up my horoscope, he scribbled astrological symbols on a long scroll and set down a name for me, Indrani, or 'queen of the heavens'. My father ignored him completely and proclaimed my name was to be Madhur ('sweet as honey').' So begins Madhur Jaffrey's enchanting memoir of her…


Book cover of Heavy: An American Memoir

Rachana Vajjhala Author Of Kinetic Cultures: Modernism and Embodiment on the Belle Epoque Stage

From my list on dazzlingly written books from the past five years with both style and substance.

Who am I?

I’m a music historian who loves to read novels. Most of my childhood was spent either playing the piano or devouring whatever books I could get my hands on. Now, I try to share my love of music and good writing with my students at Boston University. When not at school, you can usually find me exploring the trails of New England with my dog.     

Rachana's book list on dazzlingly written books from the past five years with both style and substance

Rachana Vajjhala Why did Rachana love this book?

As someone who writes about historical embodied practices such as music and dance, I am always interested in how people write about lived experiences in their own bodies.

Though ostensibly a memoir about growing up in Mississippi, Heavy also explores the possibilities and impossibilities of writing. Laymon, nevertheless, gives lightness to his profound narrative with complex, challenging, yet always luminous prose.  

By Kiese Laymon,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Heavy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed (Nonfiction), The Undefeated, Library Journal (Biography/Memoirs), The Washington Post (Nonfiction), Southern Living (Southern), Entertainment Weekly, and The New York Times Critics*

In this powerful, provocative, and universally lauded memoir—winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal and finalist for the Kirkus Prize—genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon “provocatively meditates on his trauma growing up as a black man, and in turn crafts an essential polemic against American moral rot” (Entertainment Weekly).

In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son…


Book cover of Brooklyn

Marian O'Shea Wernicke Author Of Out of Ireland

From my list on Ireland and the Irish.

Who am I?

I am a lover of all things Irish because of my heritage, with my maiden name O’Shea. Both of my parents’ grandparents came from Ireland to the United States: the O’Sheas from County Kerry and the Ward and Sullivans from Galway and Bantry. As an English major, I have loved the works of Yeats, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and I wrote my Master’s thesis on Ulysses by Joyce. Both of my own novels center around the Irish. I understand their love/hate relationship with the Catholic Church, and I love the stinging wit and lively humor of the people. The Irish are great storytellers!

Marian's book list on Ireland and the Irish

Marian O'Shea Wernicke Why did Marian love this book?

Brooklyn is one of my favorite contemporary novels.

Written in spare, clear prose, the story reels you in as you follow a young Irish girl in the 1950s, who leaves her small town in Ireland to find work in Brooklyn. Homesickness sets in, but love happens too until she is called home at her sister’s death. Complications ensue! 

This novel has been made into a great film also.

By Colm Toίbίn,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Brooklyn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Colm Toibin's Brooklyn is a devastating story of love, loss and one woman's terrible choice between duty and personal freedom. The book that inspired the major motion picture starring Saoirse Ronan.

It is Ireland in the early 1950s and for Eilis Lacey, as for so many young Irish girls, opportunities are scarce. So when her sister arranges for her to emigrate to New York, Eilis knows she must go, leaving behind her family and her home for the first time.

Arriving in a crowded lodging house in Brooklyn, Eilis can only be reminded of what she has sacrificed. She is…


Book cover of A Ticket to the Circus: A Memoir

Alex Witchel Author Of All Gone: A Memoir of My Mother's Dementia. With Refreshments

From my list on to read in the waiting room.

Who am I?

I am the oldest of four children and was always close to my mom. She was a trailblazer, earning her doctorate in educational psychology in 1963 and teaching at the college level. In her early 70’s her memory started to falter, and she lived with dementia for 10 years before she died. I was a reporter at The New York Times and had published three books by that point. My fourth became All Gone: A Memoir of My Mother’s Dementia. With Refreshments. I spent years in doctors’ and hospital’s waiting rooms and these are some of the books that helped make that time not only tolerable but sometimes, even joyful. 

Alex's book list on to read in the waiting room

Alex Witchel Why did Alex love this book?

Norris Church Mailer, a former pickle factory worker from Arkansas where she grew up in poverty, became the sixth and last wife of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Norman Mailer. Here, she tells the stories of their 33-year marriage which included his five ex-wives and her seven stepchildren. Norris came to the marriage with a son, had another son with Mailer, and while being a wife and mother to nine, she published two novels, endured Mailer’s countless affairs and generally egregious behavior, and did it all with a big old Southern-girl smile on her gorgeous face. As you sit in the waiting room, marvel at how much of life is a mess, and marvel even more at how love can make people, even you, endure more than you ever imagined. 

By Norris Church Mailer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Ticket to the Circus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this revealing memoir, told with southern charm and wit, Norris Church Mailer depicts the full evolution of her colorful life—from her childhood in a small Arkansas town all the way through her intense thirty-three-year marriage with Norman Mailer and his heartbreaking death. She met Norman by chance while in her early twenties and they fell in love in one night. Theirs was a marriage full of friendship, betrayal, doubts, understanding, challenges, and deep, complicated, lifelong passion. The couple’s New York parties were legendary, and their social circle included such luminaries as Jacqueline Kennedy, Truman Capote, and Gore Vidal. Complete…


Book cover of The Long-Winded Lady: Notes from the New Yorker

Alex Witchel Author Of All Gone: A Memoir of My Mother's Dementia. With Refreshments

From my list on to read in the waiting room.

Who am I?

I am the oldest of four children and was always close to my mom. She was a trailblazer, earning her doctorate in educational psychology in 1963 and teaching at the college level. In her early 70’s her memory started to falter, and she lived with dementia for 10 years before she died. I was a reporter at The New York Times and had published three books by that point. My fourth became All Gone: A Memoir of My Mother’s Dementia. With Refreshments. I spent years in doctors’ and hospital’s waiting rooms and these are some of the books that helped make that time not only tolerable but sometimes, even joyful. 

Alex's book list on to read in the waiting room

Alex Witchel Why did Alex love this book?

“I saw a little boy on the street today, and he cried so eloquently that I will never forget him.” Maeve Brennan wrote for the New Yorker’s Talk of the Town section as ‘The Long-Winded Lady’ from 1954 to 1968. She roamed the city’s streets, bars, and restaurants, eyes wide open, weaving stories of vivid emotional detail from the most seemingly mundane moments. None of these are too long – in the waiting room concentration can be fleeting – but each sketch engages. Her story of the crying boy ends this way: “He might have been the last bird in the world, except that if he had been the last bird there would have been no one to hear him.”

By Maeve Brennan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Long-Winded Lady as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Of all the incomparable stable of journalists who wrote for The New Yorker during its glory days in the Fifties and Sixties,” writes The Independent, “the most distinctive was Irish-born Maeve Brennan.” From 1954 to 1981, Maeve Brennan wrote for The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town” column under the pen name “The Long-Winded Lady.” Her unforgettable sketches—prose snapshots of life in small restaurants, cheap hotels, and crowded streets of Times Square and the Village—together form a timeless, bittersweet tribute to what she called the “most reckless, most ambitious, most confused, most comical, the saddest and coldest and most human…


Book cover of Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family

Alex Witchel Author Of All Gone: A Memoir of My Mother's Dementia. With Refreshments

From my list on to read in the waiting room.

Who am I?

I am the oldest of four children and was always close to my mom. She was a trailblazer, earning her doctorate in educational psychology in 1963 and teaching at the college level. In her early 70’s her memory started to falter, and she lived with dementia for 10 years before she died. I was a reporter at The New York Times and had published three books by that point. My fourth became All Gone: A Memoir of My Mother’s Dementia. With Refreshments. I spent years in doctors’ and hospital’s waiting rooms and these are some of the books that helped make that time not only tolerable but sometimes, even joyful. 

Alex's book list on to read in the waiting room

Alex Witchel Why did Alex love this book?

“My family struck me as larger than life, bigger than news,” Volk once said. This memoir imbues her relatives’ stories with all the wonder and glamour children confer on the mere mortals who raise us. In the waiting room, you may still feel that way about the person inside. Volk’s family ran restaurants in New York City – her grandfather owned 14 – and four generations lived within five blocks of each other. The details of their clothes, their couches, and their craziness (Uncle Al had an affair with Aunt Lil for 11 years then refused to marry her because she wasn’t a virgin), hark back to those Sundays forever ago when families chose to visit each other on their only day off. Reading this feels like home. 

By Patricia Volk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stuffed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'We were a restaurant family, four generations in a six-block radius. When you opened our fridge, food fell on your feet.' Three generations of Patricia Volk's family have been in the restaurant business. Her hallway was the colour of ball-park mustard, the living room was cocoa and the floor was like Genoa salami. At Morgen's, the famous restaurant in the garment district which her grandfather started and which her father ran, she was the princess. Waiters winked at her and twirled her napkin up high before draping it on her lap and when she wanted a hamburger, her grandfather would…


Book cover of Taste: My Life Through Food

Arlene S. Bice Author Of Running with the Horses: A Memoir of Travel, Racetracks, & Foods

From my list on memoirs and personal stories that capture something special.

Who am I?

I firmly believe we each have a unique story to tell, to record in order to help others and to record a history. I love the ordinary person who lives an extraordinary life. So many people don’t realize how wonderful they are. It is also cathartic to write your story, in doing so you forgive others as you forgive yourself for decisions poorly made.

Arlene's book list on memoirs and personal stories that capture something special

Arlene S. Bice Why did Arlene love this book?

Stanley Tucci makes this book personal. He connects to any reader that loves the world of cooking and entertaining friends at his table and who loves to travel, too. He takes the reader into his personal life, not just memories of his good times, but his errors, too. He’s honest. He’s intriguing, letting you know who he truly is. He loves his life, all of it, and he passes that love onto you.

By Stanley Tucci,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Taste as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NO.1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

A Guardian book of the year
A Times book of the year
A Daily Mail book of the year

From award-winning actor and food obsessive Stanley Tucci comes an intimate and charming memoir of life in and out of the kitchen. For Stanley and foodie fans, this is the perfect, irresistible gift.

'It's impossible to read this without becoming ravenous!' -- Nigella Lawson

'It is as infectious as it is delicious, as funny as it is insightful. The only reason to put this book down, is to go cook and eat from it' -- Heston…


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