10 books like Kitchen Confidential

By Anthony Bourdain,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Kitchen Confidential. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Cooking Gene

By Michael W. Twitty,

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

I’m a sucker for culinary history books, and this one is an absolute must-read, weaving together both food and race history as it spotlights what is, perhaps, America’s greatest culinary contribution to the world: southern cuisine. Twitty uses his own family’s story to highlight the significant contribution African Americans have made to American cooking, addressing the question of who ‘owns’ soul food, barbeque, and other Southern staples, and how that struggle reflects on race tensions and relations today. 

The Cooking Gene

By Michael W. Twitty,

Why should I read it?

2 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…


Crying in H Mart

By Michelle Zauner,

Book cover of Crying in H Mart: A Memoir

I loved Michelle Zauner’s essay by the same name when it came out in The New Yorker in 2018. I teach this essay in my Intro to Food Writing Class, and my students find it as moving and transporting as I do. Zauner’s new memoir—it came out in April—chronicles the decline of her mother's health and her own journey in finding her sense of self, often through the Korean dishes, ingredients, and flavors that connect her to her mom. The mother-daughter relationship is complex, full of love and pain, and the writing is gorgeous and sparkling.

Crying in H Mart

By Michelle Zauner,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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,…


Blood, Bones & Butter

By Gabrielle Hamilton,

Book cover of Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

Gabrielle Hamilton isn’t just a ‘reluctant chef’ (in her own words), she’s also an absolutely exquisite writer (her MFA really paid off!). Her memoir traces her life and love of food from her New Jersey childhood, through her many professional ups and downs and international travels (I especially love the parts where she’s staying at her Italian mother-in-law’s home, describing the incredible produce she was able to get. Oh, the tomatoes!) Did I extra love this because she grew up in the same small town I was born in? Maybe, but it’s a wonderful book no matter where you’re from.

Blood, Bones & Butter

By Gabrielle Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Blood, Bones & Butter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Magnificent' Anthony Bourdain

A sharply crafted and unflinchingly honest memoir. This is a rollicking, passionate story of food, purpose and family.

Blood, Bones & Butter follows the chef Gabrielle Hamilton's extraordinary journey through the places she has inhabited over the years: the rural kitchen of her childhood, where her adored mother stood over the six-burner with wooden spoon in hand; the kitchens of France, Greece, and Turkey, where she was often fed by complete strangers and learned the essence of hospitality; and the kitchen of her beloved Italian mother-in-law, who serves as the link between Hamilton's idyllic past and her…


Climbing the Mango Trees

By Madhur Jaffrey,

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

Growing up, my mom was often cooking something from one of Jaffrey’s brilliant cookbooks. Jaffrey’s memoir about her childhood in Delhi and Kampur is just as delicious. It begins on the high mango trees, where the older cousins and siblings climbed to pick and slice the juicy fruits and the younger kids dipped them into salt, red chilies, and smoky cumin. Elaborate meals were served for a boisterous extended family, presided over by the benevolent but moody patriarch Babaji. Jaffrey writes with insightful precision about the Hindu, Muslim, and British influences that shaped her country, and the devastation of partition and its aftermath. When teenage Jaffrey leaves for acting school in London, her “palate had already recorded millions of flavors” from her home—and we’re so lucky it did.

Climbing the Mango Trees

By Madhur Jaffrey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Climbing the Mango Trees as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

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…


Heavy

By Kiese Laymon,

Book cover of Heavy: An American Memoir

This wildly important book is about what it takes to become a fully realized black man in racist white America. On top of that already monumental struggle are more struggles: anorexia, sexual violence, abuse, obesity, gambling, the construction of identity, and excavating the self and others, to get at the truth. I’d say that this is perhaps one of the best books on trauma that I’ve read. The sentences themselves, the rhythmic syntax of their musicality, is just one emotional heartbeat of this stunning, painfully honest, and vulnerable work of art. 

Heavy

By Kiese Laymon,

Why should I read it?

2 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…


Chaos

By Tom O'Neill, Dan Piepenbring,

Book cover of Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties

What if I told you that Charles Manson was part of a United States CIA project that was directly responsible for the death of many people? This book will show you how author Tom O’Neil gathered government documents and testimonies about the link between the CIA and Charles Manson. See how The Beach Boys and Hollywood movie stars were pawns in a game controlled by several government programs and this book has the evidence to back up these outrageous claims. I used to have a very different point of view of Manson before this book, and now I see him very differently.

Chaos

By Tom O'Neill, Dan Piepenbring,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As featured on The Joe Rogan Experience
______________________________
A journalist's twenty-year obsession with the Manson murders leads to shocking new conspiracy theories about the FBI's involvement in this fascinating re-evaluation of one of the most infamous cases in American history.

Twenty years ago, reporting for a routine magazine piece about the infamous Manson murders, journalist Tom O'Neill didn't expect to find anything new. But the discovery of horrifying new evidence kick-started an obsession and his life's work. What had he unearthed and what did it mean: why was there surveillance by intelligence agents? Why did the police make these particular…


The Quiche of Death

By M. C. Beaton,

Book cover of The Quiche of Death

It takes guts to write a protagonist who’s hard to like. Agatha Raisin, a tough businesswoman who retires to the tiny village of Carsley, is so beautifully flawed she’s impossible to ignore. She’s somewhat of a bully, prone to conniving, and deeply competitive, which is why she buys her quiche at a shop and enters it as her own creation. Of course, someone drops dead after eating it. This crusty woman of a certain age just bulldozes her way through the investigation and her flaws are so funny and refreshing that you wind up rooting for her. She’s a breath of fresh air in the cozy mystery world.

The Quiche of Death

By M. C. Beaton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Every new Agatha Raisin escapade is a total joy' ASHLEY JENSEN

'No wonder she's been crowned Queen of Cosy Crime' MAIL ON SUNDAY

'A Beaton novel is like The Archers on speed' DAILY MAIL

The first Agatha Raisin mystery from bestselling author M. C. Beaton

__________________________

Revenge is a dish best served warm...

High-flying public relations supremo Agatha Raisin has decided to take early retirement. She's off to make a new life in a picture-perfect Cotswold village. To make friends, she enters the local quiche-making competition - and to make quite sure of first prize she secretly pays a visit…


Sphere

By Michael Crichton,

Book cover of Sphere

The setup of this story is captivating. A psychologist, a marine biologist, an astrophysicist, and a mathematician are called to a crash site in the middle of the ocean. What unfolds gives you, the reader, a chance to live in an underwater habitat as the crash site happens to be a spacecraft at the bottom of the ocean. I love the sense of claustrophobia this book gives me as it is both unsettling and comforting at times.

While the movies I watch tell me that an extra-terrestrial encounter would include little green men, this story gives us an alternative to that. Instead of a being, humanity is instead confronted with an entity. I felt genuine fear while reading this book.

Sphere

By Michael Crichton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Ingenious and beguiling.”
—Time

“Crichton keeps us guessing at every turn in his best work since The Andromeda Strain.”
—Los Angeles Times

“Sphere may be Crichton’s best novel, but even if it ranked only second or third, it would be a must for suspense fans.”
—Miami Herald

A classic thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Crichton, Sphere is a bravura demonstration of what he does better than anyone: riveting storytelling that combines frighteningly plausible, cutting edge science and technology with pulse-pounding action and serious chills. The gripping story of a group of American scientists sent to the…


The Green Mile

By Stephen King,

Book cover of The Green Mile

The Green Mile wasn’t the first book by Stephen King that I read, but it was the book that addicted me for the rest of my life. Stephen King was the master and this story proved it beyond a doubt. Until this book, I didn’t realize just how beautiful and emotional a horror novel could be. It went beyond gross outs and creepy scares. The feelings brought out in me were deep and real and I honestly shed a few tears by the end of it.  

The Green Mile

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stephen King's iconic horror masterpiece. An international bestselling and highly acclaimed novel, a must-read for any horror fan, also a hugely successful film starring Tom Hanks.

The Green Mile: those who walk it do not return, because at the end of that walk is the room in which sits Cold Mountain penitentiary's electric chair. In 1932 the newest resident on death row is John Coffey, a giant black man convicted of the brutal murder of two little girls. But nothing is as it seems with John Coffey, and around him unfolds a bizarre and horrifying story.

Evil murderer or holy…


Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

By Joanne Fluke,

Book cover of Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

Similar to Goldy in the prior recommendation, Hannah Swenson knows her way around a cookie. She runs her own bakery with offerings that make the reader’s mouth water (mine sure does!) She’s got plenty of sass and a mom who is constantly trying to find her a man. I love her determination to solve the murder of the milkman but most of all I love the cookie recipes which are easy for the average baker. I am a massive cookie lover so I am always looking for new types to try and Hannah Swenson delivers. She keeps the recipes easy and accessible but always with a fun twist.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

By Joanne Fluke,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First in the New York Times-bestselling mystery series: “A cleverly plotted cozy full of appealing characters and delicious cookie recipes.”—Publishers Weekly

Take one amateur sleuth. Mix in some eccentric Minnesota locals. Add a generous dollop of crackling suspense, and you've got the recipe for this mystery series featuring Hannah Swensen, the red-haired, cookie-baking heroine whose gingersnaps are almost as tart as her comments and whose penchant for solving crime is definitely stirring things up.

While dodging her mother’s attempts to marry her off, Hannah runs The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden’s most popular bakery. But after Ron LaSalle, the beloved deliveryman…


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