100 books like Feast

By Anissa Helou,

Here are 100 books that Feast fans have personally recommended if you like Feast. 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 Art of Eating

Mary Taylor Simeti Author Of Sicilian Summer: An Adventure in Cooking with my Grandsons

From my list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an American living and cooking in Sicily for almost sixty years, I have soaked up Sicilian cuisine and culture both through research and by osmosis, delighting in discovering how the food I was preparing reflected the island’s position in history and geography, a meeting point for almost all the civilizations of the Mediterranean. My first book, a memoir of my life here entitled On Persephone’s Island, was followed by Pomp and Sustenance. Twenty-five Centuries of Sicilian Food, the first book on Sicilian cuisine to be published in English. Six more books on different aspects of Sicilian food and culture, in English or in Italian, have followed.

Mary's book list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind

Mary Taylor Simeti Why did Mary love this book?

Whenever I feel a stab of nostalgia for my American childhood, I turn to M.F.K. Fisher, one of the most delightful food writers ever. The Art of Eating is a one-volume edition of six of her books, all written before I graduated from high school: it gives a funny and informative account of American (and other) eating habits before the great foodie revolution of the ‘80’s altered everything. It offers mostly food for the mind but the palate is also served by recipes I’d forgotten all about, often given both in their comfort food guise and in fancy dress.

By M.F.K. Fisher,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ruth Reichl - 'Mary Frances [Fisher] has the extraordinary ability to make the ordinary seem rich and wonderful. Her dignity comes from her absolute insistence on appreciating life as it comes to her'. Julia Child - 'How wonderful to have here in my hands the essence of M.F.K. Fisher, whose wit and fulsome opinions on food and those who produce it, comment upon it, and consume it are as apt today as they were several decades ago, when she composed them. Why did she choose food and hunger she was asked, and she replied, 'When I write about hunger, I…


Book cover of The New Book of Middle Eastern Food

Mary Taylor Simeti Author Of Sicilian Summer: An Adventure in Cooking with my Grandsons

From my list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an American living and cooking in Sicily for almost sixty years, I have soaked up Sicilian cuisine and culture both through research and by osmosis, delighting in discovering how the food I was preparing reflected the island’s position in history and geography, a meeting point for almost all the civilizations of the Mediterranean. My first book, a memoir of my life here entitled On Persephone’s Island, was followed by Pomp and Sustenance. Twenty-five Centuries of Sicilian Food, the first book on Sicilian cuisine to be published in English. Six more books on different aspects of Sicilian food and culture, in English or in Italian, have followed.

Mary's book list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind

Mary Taylor Simeti Why did Mary love this book?

Sixty years ago when I first started cooking in Sicily, local ingredients were of topnotch quality but very limited variety, so my American cookbooks and food mags were useless. The discovery of Claudia Roden’s book opened up a whole new world: recipe upon recipe with Mediterranean ingredients and delicious results, and fascinating notes on the origin of the dishes, notes that made me want to know more about culinary history.

By Claudia Roden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The New Book of Middle Eastern Food as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Claudia Roden's A Book of Middle Eastern Food is your ultimate cookbook and guide to the rich and exotic recipes of the Middle East . . .

'Meticulously collected, compellingly assembled, lovingly told . . . Informative, delectable and incredibly useful' YOTAM OTTOLENGHI

'Roden's great gift is to conjure up not just a cuisine but the culture from which it springs' NIGELLA LAWSON
_______

When it first published, Claudia Roden's bestselling classic Book of Middle Eastern Food revolutionised Western attitudes to the cuisines of the Middle East.

Containing over 500 modern and accessible recipes that are brought to life with…


Book cover of Verdura: Vegetables Italian Style

Mary Taylor Simeti Author Of Sicilian Summer: An Adventure in Cooking with my Grandsons

From my list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an American living and cooking in Sicily for almost sixty years, I have soaked up Sicilian cuisine and culture both through research and by osmosis, delighting in discovering how the food I was preparing reflected the island’s position in history and geography, a meeting point for almost all the civilizations of the Mediterranean. My first book, a memoir of my life here entitled On Persephone’s Island, was followed by Pomp and Sustenance. Twenty-five Centuries of Sicilian Food, the first book on Sicilian cuisine to be published in English. Six more books on different aspects of Sicilian food and culture, in English or in Italian, have followed.

Mary's book list on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind

Mary Taylor Simeti Why did Mary love this book?

I am apt to come back to the kitchen from the garden or the farmers’ market with a large bag of irresistible vegetables that I have no idea what I’m going to do with. More often than not I turn to Viana La Place’s book for a simple and satisfying recipe that uses Italian ingredients with a touch of California thrown in.

By Viana LA Place,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fresh ingredients and ease of preparation characterize the recipes for every course of Italian food, from the antipasta to pasta and risotto, from soups and stews to sandwiches, and from main dishes to salads. With recipes for bruschetta topped with roasted tomatoes and country stews fragrant with saffron and rosemary, to tantalizing puddings, this book covers the full range of Italian cookery.


Book cover of The Culture of Food

Carolyn Steel Author Of Sitopia: How Food Can Save the World

From my list on how food shapes our lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

Food and architecture have been dual passions in my life for as long as I can remember. My grandparents had a hotel in Bournemouth, and I can still recall my fascination with the way everything changed as I passed through the green baize doors between the service areas and the public rooms. I became an architect, but food was always there in the background, and much later, I realised how I could bring the two together in order to describe the world in a completely new way. This led to my first book, Hungry City, and its follow-up Sitopia, both of which have changed the way I see the world. 

Carolyn's book list on how food shapes our lives

Carolyn Steel Why did Carolyn love this book?

This was the first book I read when I started researching my first book, and it turned out to be a very lucky choice, since it opened my eyes more than any other book to the power of food to shape our cultures and customs and ways of seeing the world.

It describes in fascinating detail how European food cultures developed according to landscape and climate, and how various differences – such as the Mediterranean propensity to eat lots of vegetables and drink wine in moderation, compared with the northern tendency to eat lots of meat and get drunk on beer or spirits – not only endure today, but continue to shape the way we live, behave and see ourselves and others. 

By Massimo Montanari,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is about the history of food in Europe and the part it has played in the evolution of the European cultures over two millennia. It has been a driving force in national and imperial ambition, the manner of its production and consumption a means by which the identity and status of regions, classes and individuals have been and still are expressed. In this wide--ranging exploration of its history the author weaves deftly between the classes, regions and nations of Europe, between the habits of late antiquity and the problems of modernity. He examines the interlinked evolutions of consumption,…


Book cover of A Book of Middle Eastern Food

Elisabeth Luard Author Of European Peasant Cookery

From my list on cookbooks published at moments of change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a home cook, not a restaurant chef. I add a pinch of this and splash of that. As a chronicler of other people's culinary habits, I need to understand why we cook the way we do. At its simplest and most basic, what goes into the ancestral cooking-pot depends on who we are, where we live, and where we come from. Which is why whenever we want to remind ourselves who we are, we look for traditional recipes in culinary bibles produced at moments of change. I was born at a moment of change myself, in bombed-out London in 1941, at the height of the Blitz.  

Elisabeth's book list on cookbooks published at moments of change

Elisabeth Luard Why did Elisabeth love this book?

After President Nasser expelled her family along with most of Egypt's Jewish population in the 1950s, young Claudia Douek, art student in London, began to collect memories and family recipes from her fellow refugees.

The subtext is what it means to be a woman - young or old - obliged to create a new life in an alien land. I once asked Claudia why it is that so many cookery writers are of Jewish descent (as am I): "Simple. We need to remember who we are." 

A stylish writer with an artist's eye who's also a serious historian, Middle Eastern is the book I treasure not only for culinary inspiration (authenticity guaranteed), but for the accuracy and accessibility of her beautiful prose. 

By Claudia Roden, Alta Ann Parkins (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Book of Middle Eastern Food as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than 500 recipes from the subtle, spicy, varied cuisines of the Middle East, ranging from inexpensive but tasty peasant fare to elaborate banquet dishes.


Book cover of Zaitoun: Recipes from the Palestinian Kitchen

Zuza Zak Author Of Amber & Rye: A Baltic Food Journey: Estonia - Latvia - Lithuania

From my list on travelling through food.

Why am I passionate about this?

Some people travel through food–they seek out authentic foods when they are travelling, visit certain places just to eat their specialties, and travel from their own kitchens when they are at home. This book list is for them. The same has always been the case with me, and I have continued this habit of exploring culture through food in the writing of my own cookbooks. Amber & Rye was the book for which I physically travelled the most, and my partner did all the travel photography too, so it was a family experience.

Zuza's book list on travelling through food

Zuza Zak Why did Zuza love this book?

It’s quite painful opening this book at this moment in time (when Gaza is being bombed), yet it remains one of my favourite food-travel books for the human stories it contains within it.

Khan used to be a human rights campaigner before she started writing cookbooks, and her previous incarnation comes across in the writing. The recipes are colourful and joyous, while also being simple enough to make you want to cook them immediately.

By Yasmin Khan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Yasmin Khan unlocks the flavors and fragrances of modern Palestine, from the sun-kissed pomegranate stalls of Akka, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, through evergreen oases of date plantations in the Jordan Valley, to the fading fish markets of Gaza City.

Palestinian food is winningly fresh and bright, centered around colorful mezze dishes that feature the region's bountiful eggplants, peppers, artichokes, and green beans; slow-cooked stews of chicken and lamb flavored with Palestinian barahat spice blends; and the marriage of local olive oil with earthy za'atar, served in small bowls to accompany toasted breads. It has evolved over several…


Book cover of Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook

Mihaela Metaxa-Albu Author Of 30-Minute Keto: Low-Carb Cooking Made Fast, Easy & Delicious

From my list on top cookbooks of all time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an ex-pastry chef at Zuma London, current food blogger and creative director at Blondelish.com and YumCreative.com. I cook and shoot food photos and videos for 10 hours a day, almost every day of the week and I wouldn't have it any other way. I consider myself an artist and cooking is an expression of my inner self. I started cooking about 15 years ago as a hobby and within a year I took it to the next level by attending a 1-year class at Southgate College in London and getting my Chef Diploma. Right after that, I landed a job as a pastry chef at Zuma London which quickly transformed me into a pro. 

Mihaela's book list on top cookbooks of all time

Mihaela Metaxa-Albu Why did Mihaela love this book?

If you want to up your weeknight meal with delicious Middle-Eastern flavors and if you want to learn how to combine veggies in so many delicious ways, then you must read Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook. He's a true genius of the Middle-Eastern cuisine and probably no other chef can mix unique flavors and simple ingredients as well as he does. While the recipes are truly unique, you'll find that they’re made with simple ingredients in under 30 minutes.

By Yotam Ottolenghi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

JAMES BEARD AWARD FINALIST • The New York Times bestselling collection of 130 easy, flavor-forward recipes from beloved chef Yotam Ottolenghi.

In Ottolenghi Simple, powerhouse author and chef Yotam Ottolenghi presents 130 streamlined recipes packed with his signature Middle Eastern–inspired flavors, all simple in at least (and often more than) one way: made in 30 minutes or less, with 10 or fewer ingredients, in a single pot, using pantry staples, or prepared ahead of time for brilliantly, deliciously simple meals. Brunch gets a make-over with Braised Eggs with Leeks and Za’atar; Cauliflower, Pomegranate, and Pistachio Salad refreshes the side-dish rotation;…


Book cover of Indian Cooking

Frances Kuffel Author Of Passing for Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Self

From my list on cookbooks for weight loss and maintenance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love to cook and it’s difficult to find something beyond chicken and salad when you’re trying to lose weight.  Over the years I’ve assembled a cookbook library that covers many topics (interested in how the Georgians ate green beans? I can help you out!), many of them as off-topic from weight-loss as my cookie cookbook collection. But I still return to what I call “abstinent” favorites, simply because they are so tasty.

Frances' book list on cookbooks for weight loss and maintenance

Frances Kuffel Why did Frances love this book?

If you discount Northern Europe and North America, it’s amazing that most of the world has such clean food. I love Indian food and Madhur Jaffrey knows how to make it accessible and easy for the rest of us.  You’ll find dishes here that are not part of your local Indian spot: Dry Moong Dal, Goan-style Hot and Spicy Pork, Cold Yogurt Soup with Mint.

By Madhur Jaffrey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chef magazine called this book�s author �the best-known ambassador of Indian food in the United States� . . . and the Boston Herald referred to her as �the renowned author and actress [who] teaches home cooks about the sophistication and infinite diversity of Indian fare.� The New York Times described her simply and succinctly as �the Indian cuisine authority.� For many years a best-selling cookbook, Madhur Jaffrey�s seminal title on Indian cuisine now has been totally revised, redesigned, enlarged, and enhanced with 70 brand-new full-color photos. With chapters on meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables, as well as pulses, relishes, chutneys,…


Book cover of Classic Indian Cooking

Manju Malhi BEM Author Of Easy Indian Cookbook: Over 70 Deliciously Simple Recipes

From my list on easy peasy cooking with easy to find ingredients.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up as an Asian girl in the UK has its ups and downs. I was bullied at school but sought solace in cooking and learning from my mother about Indian cuisine. Now in my adult life, I’ve been awarded the British Empire Medal for cooking services to the community during the pandemic. A straightforward approach to cuisine has won me fans globally and a TV series broadcast to over 80 million viewers cooking British dishes for an Indian audience. After writing 6 books on the subject of easy cooking, I hope you like the choices on my very personal list which are dog-eared and spice stained with overuse and love. 

Manju's book list on easy peasy cooking with easy to find ingredients

Manju Malhi BEM Why did Manju love this book?

I interviewed Julie about her book many years ago for BBC Radio and I remember that time that I was so impressed with her details and historical background to the dishes she featured. Even the glossary was informative, but above all, the recipes were versatile and easy to follow. The book inspired me to cook beyond my comfort zones and allowed me to experiment further.

By Julie Sahni,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This extraordinary cookbook is a complete course in Indian cuisine. When it was first published it was hailed by both Jane Grigson and Elizabeth David, who said of it.. 'This is a marvellous book. Julie Sahni tackles the daunting task of presenting the multiple, complex traditions of Indian cookery to the English-speaking world and brings it off triumphantly.' Illustrated throughout with explanatory line drawings it introduces all the basic spices and special ingredients so fundamental to Indian food, then explains the techniques employed in using them. So brilliant a teacher is Julie Sahni that it is immediately obvious that Indian…


Book cover of Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India

Didi Emmons Author Of Vegetarian Planet

From my list on Southeast Asian cookbooks from a Chef who uses them daily.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thirty-two years ago, I got my start as a chef by cooking in a shoebox cafe in Boston that played with curious Asian ingredients. Ten years later, after using lots of Asian cookbooks, I was incorporating Thai and Vietnamese cooking into my menus at the restaurant I was running. A few years after that, I opened and ran a Vietnamese restaurant in Cambridge (unfortunately, after major success, it burned down after a year). After this, the tourism board of Malaysia sent me on a four-week trip to write about the street food for FoodArts magazine. It is these experiences that greatly influenced my interest in Southeast Asian cooking.

Didi's book list on Southeast Asian cookbooks from a Chef who uses them daily

Didi Emmons Why did Didi love this book?

This is a glossy cookbook published first in India and then in 1994 by an Australian division of Harper Collins. I’ve made many, many recipes in this book and it’s opened my eyes to the meat-free, texturally complex cuisine of South India. The careful but dynamic mix of ingredients such as mustard seeds, curry leaves, dried coconut, dal, and cumin seeds used in tempering dishes brings the food to life. I recommend this book to the curious and adventuresome home cook who enjoys shopping at Indian markets. The recipes are solid and for the most part easy once you become familiar with its cuisine and techniques.

By Chandra Padmanabhan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Dakshin" in an ancient Sanskrit word meaning "south." It symbolizes what this Indian cookbook is all about - the best and most delicious of South Indian vegetarian cuisine.

Filled with tempting recipes and beautiful photographs, Dakshin: Vegetarian Cooking from South India presents the finest cooking from the region. Drawn from the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh, and the union territory of Pondicherry, the recipes in this vegetarian cookbook bring traditional South Indian cooking within reach of any cook in any kitchen.

From sambars and rasams, to cooling desserts and sweet treats, Dakshin takes you through the…


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