100 books like Making Modern Meals

By Amy B. Trubek,

Here are 100 books that Making Modern Meals fans have personally recommended if you like Making Modern Meals. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Cheffes de Cuisine: Women and Work in the Professional French Kitchen

David E. Sutton Author Of Bigger Fish to Fry: A Theory of Cooking as Risk, with Greek Examples

From my list on scholarly reads about cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in food, even as young as 3 years old I remember wanting to taste everything, and I found the process of cooking fascinating. But I really got interested in food as a topic for research during my time studying Greek culture for my PhD thesis. People on the island of Kalymnos, where I’ve conducted research for 30 years, made a strong connection between food and memory, but it was a connection that few scholars have written about until recently. So I’ve been excited to participate in a new field reflected by all of these books, and hope you will be as well.

David's book list on scholarly reads about cooking

David E. Sutton Why did David love this book?

Cheffes explores the lives and the challenges facing female chefs and chefs-in-training in Lyon, France.

It also provides compelling first-hand experiences of the author who went through training while pregnant as well. Black’s account of the tribulations of professional female "cheffes" against a background of prejudice and harassment seemed very relevant to our contemporary discussions.

But what really stood out for me about this is that she contextualizes the story within the history of Lyon, famous both for its cuisine and for its legendary female cheffes. Black ties together past and present beautifully in her account, giving a real sense of continuity and change in the food world.

By Rachel E. Black,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Works of Distinction, LDEI M.F.K. Fisher Prize for Excellence in Culinary Media Content, 2022

A rare woman's-eye-view of working in the professional French kitchen

Though women enter France's culinary professions at higher rates than ever, men still receive the lion's share of the major awards and Michelin stars. Rachel E. Black looks at the experiences of women in Lyon to examine issues of gender inequality in France's culinary industry. Known for its female-led kitchens, Lyon provides a unique setting for understanding the gender divide, as Lyonnais women have played a major role in maintaining the city's culinary heritage and its…


Book cover of The Metamorphosis of Greek Cuisine: An Ethnography of Deli Foods, Restaurant Smells and Foodways of Crisis

David E. Sutton Author Of Bigger Fish to Fry: A Theory of Cooking as Risk, with Greek Examples

From my list on scholarly reads about cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in food, even as young as 3 years old I remember wanting to taste everything, and I found the process of cooking fascinating. But I really got interested in food as a topic for research during my time studying Greek culture for my PhD thesis. People on the island of Kalymnos, where I’ve conducted research for 30 years, made a strong connection between food and memory, but it was a connection that few scholars have written about until recently. So I’ve been excited to participate in a new field reflected by all of these books, and hope you will be as well.

David's book list on scholarly reads about cooking

David E. Sutton Why did David love this book?

This book tells the story of how people use food to reimagine identities in the midst of an economic and social crisis.

It beautifully describes the setting of restaurants and delicatessans in Athens, Greece, and how people’s association with the source of their food, the countryside, became a touchstone for reinventing Greekness. An account that will challenge stereotypes and leave you with a new perspective on “Greek cuisine.”

By Nafsika Papacharalampous,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Metamorphosis of Greek Cuisine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is an ethnography of the metamorphosis of rural foods and traditional dishes and of the making of cuisine and identity in contemporary Athens.

In the wake of the financial crisis in Athens in the mid-2015s, forgotten rural foods of the past are transformed into luxurious artisanal foods, while traditional dishes appear reinvented in fine-dining restaurants, after decades of darkness. How, and why is this all happening in a city of poverty, hardship and economic crisis? Through sensory descriptions and thick ethnographic material, it follows the Athenian affluent middle class in upscale delis and goes inside fine-dining restaurant kitchens,…


Book cover of Women's Food Matters: Stirring the Pot

David E. Sutton Author Of Bigger Fish to Fry: A Theory of Cooking as Risk, with Greek Examples

From my list on scholarly reads about cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in food, even as young as 3 years old I remember wanting to taste everything, and I found the process of cooking fascinating. But I really got interested in food as a topic for research during my time studying Greek culture for my PhD thesis. People on the island of Kalymnos, where I’ve conducted research for 30 years, made a strong connection between food and memory, but it was a connection that few scholars have written about until recently. So I’ve been excited to participate in a new field reflected by all of these books, and hope you will be as well.

David's book list on scholarly reads about cooking

David E. Sutton Why did David love this book?

This is the first book of its kind to combine a focus on women’s food knowledge from growing and harvesting to cooking.

The author draws from a wide array of sources to provide a rare cross-cultural and historical perspective on women’s food practices and their significance to “sexual politics.” Written in accessible and lively prose that is both informative and a pleasure to read.

By Vicki A. Swinbank,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women's Food Matters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Women have always been inextricably linked to food, especially in its production and preparation. This link, which applies cross-culturally, has seldom been fully acknowledged or celebrated. The role of women in this is usually taken for granted and therefore often rendered unimportant or invisible. This book presents a wide-ranging, interdiscplinary and comprehensive feminist analysis of women's central role in many aspects of the world's food systems and cultures. This central role is examined through a range of lenses, namely cross-cultural, intergenerational, and socially diverse.


Book cover of Food and Families in the Making: Knowledge Reproduction and Political Economy of Cooking in Morocco

David E. Sutton Author Of Bigger Fish to Fry: A Theory of Cooking as Risk, with Greek Examples

From my list on scholarly reads about cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in food, even as young as 3 years old I remember wanting to taste everything, and I found the process of cooking fascinating. But I really got interested in food as a topic for research during my time studying Greek culture for my PhD thesis. People on the island of Kalymnos, where I’ve conducted research for 30 years, made a strong connection between food and memory, but it was a connection that few scholars have written about until recently. So I’ve been excited to participate in a new field reflected by all of these books, and hope you will be as well.

David's book list on scholarly reads about cooking

David E. Sutton Why did David love this book?

This book tells the story of the transmission and learning of cooking knowledge and skill in Morocco.

What makes it stand out for me is not only the focus on multisensory experience, but the way the author provides an account of her own process of learning to cook, and learning to know what cooking is, as part of her apprenticeship to Marrakchi women.

Graf takes us into the lives of three Marrakchi women and their families, illustrating their struggles and the power that they deploy through cooking. Food and Families in the Making thus makes for a moving account of sensuous scholarship.

By Katharina Graf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Food and Families in the Making as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Even in the context of rapid material and social change in urban Morocco, women, and especially those from a low-income household, continue to invest a lot of work in preparing good food for their families. Through the lens of domestic food preparation, this book looks at knowledge reproduction on how we know cooking and its role in the making of everyday family life. It also examines a political economy of cooking that situates Marrakchi women's lived experience in the broader context of persisting poverty and food insecurity in Morocco.


Book cover of Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes, Through Darkness and Light

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?

This is a book you’ll want to go to bed with again and again. It combines travel and food in the most evocative, interesting of ways.

In this book, Eden travels from pre-war Odesa to Istanbul and on to Trabzon, covering the little-known history of the fascinating Black Sea region along the way. You’ll want to cook all the recipes if only to add that extra dimension to your reading experience. 

By Caroline Eden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Art of Eating Prize 2020

Winner of the Guild of Food Writers' Best Food Book Award 2019

Winner of the Edward Stanford Travel Food and Drink Book Award 2019

Winner of the John Avery Award at the Andre Simon Food and Drink Book Awards for 2018

Shortlisted for the James Beard International Cookbook Award

'The next best thing to actually travelling with Caroline Eden - a warm, erudite and greedy guide - is to read her. This is my kind of book.' - Diana Henry

'A wonderfully inspiring book about a magical part of the world' -…


Book cover of The Oxford Companion to Food

Jenny Linford Author Of The Missing Ingredient: The Curious Role of Time in Food and Flavour

From my list on that help us explore the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a food writer who has long been interested in seeing food in its cultural, historical, and social context. Food is too often put in a neat little box, whereas actually it offers a fascinating prism through which to explore the world. Researching and writing The Missing Ingredient – in which I explore the role of time as the universal, invisible ‘ingredient’ in the food we grow, make, and cook brought this home to me.

Jenny's book list on that help us explore the world

Jenny Linford Why did Jenny love this book?

With entries on foods from Aardvark to Zucchini, this wonderful, wide-ranging reference book has a place of honour by my desk. The idea of a global guide to foodstuffs was conceived of by Alan Davidson in 1976 – before the digital age – and first published in 1999. Davidson, who edited it, brought his intellectual curiosity, knowledge, and humour to the project. The result is a seminal reference book which instead of being dull or stodgy is lively, engaging, and interesting. A book that I never tire of using, as always come across something that catches my attention in the most beguiling way.

By Alan Davidson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Oxford Companion to Food as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

the best food reference work ever to appear in the English language ... read it and be dazzled'
Bee Wilson, New Statesman

First published in 1999, the ground-breaking Oxford Companion to Food was an immediate success and won prizes and accolades around the world. Its blend of serious food history, culinary expertise, and entertaining serendipity, was and remains unique.

Interest in food, cooking, and the culture surrounding food has grown enormously in the intervening period, as has the study of food and food history. University departments, international societies, and academic journals have sprung up dedicated to exploring the meaning of…


Book cover of Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History

Troy Bickham Author Of Eating the Empire: Food and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain

From my list on food and empires in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of History at Texas A&M University and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.  I teach and research broadly in the histories of Britain and its empire, North America, and the Atlantic world. I am the author of four books, including Making Headlines: The American Revolution as Seen through the British Press and The Weight of Vengeance: The United States, the British Empire, and the War of 1812. I am especially fascinated with how imperialism shape colonizers’ cultures.

Troy's book list on food and empires in history

Troy Bickham Why did Troy love this book?

I love this book primarily for the ambitiousness of its breadth. It begins thousands of years ago with the role of early grain domestication in empire-building and stretches to the roles of modern cuisines in global trade, industry, and capitalism. Although a whirlwind of peoples and places from across human history, this beautifully written and illustrated book is easy for any reader interested in the subject to digest. 

By Rachel Laudan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rachel Laudan tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of the world's great cuisines from the mastery of grain cooking some twenty thousand years ago, to the present in this superbly researched book.

Probing beneath the apparent confusion of dozens of cuisines to reveal the underlying simplicity of the culinary family tree, she shows how periodic seismic shifts in culinary philosophy" beliefs about health, the economy, politics, society, and the gods prompted the construction of new cuisines, a handful of which, chosen as the cuisines of empires, came to dominate the globe.

Cuisine and Empire shows how merchants,…


Book cover of Red Sands: Reportage and Recipes Through Central Asia, from Hinterland to Heartland

Sophie Ibbotson Author Of Uzbekistan

From my list on to discover the Silk Road.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I first visited Central Asia in 2008, little did I know that it would become the focus of my life and work. I now advise the World Bank and national governments on economic development, with a particular focus on tourism, and I’m the Chairman of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. I am Uzbekistan’s Ambassador for Tourism, a co-founder of the Silk Road Literary Festival, and I’ve written and updated guidebooks to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and the Silk Road.

Sophie's book list on to discover the Silk Road

Sophie Ibbotson Why did Sophie love this book?

Food is without doubt one of the most insightful windows into any culture. The food we eat is a mirror of who we are and where we come from, a strong trigger for memory, and cooking together or sharing a meal creates an unusually strong bond between people who were previously strangers. In Red Sands, Caroline Eden combines reportage, photography, and recipes to build a rich picture of Central Asia, introducing people and places foreigners would never normally encounter. Her stories are diverse, evocative, and thought-provoking, but they have one thing in common: they make you hungry for adventure and to taste the many ingredients and dishes she describes.

By Caroline Eden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Andre Simon Food Book Award 2020

"Caroline Eden is an extraordinarily creative and gifted writer. Red Sands captures the sights, tastes and feel of Central Asia so well that when reading this book I was sometimes convinced I was there in person. A wonderful book from start to finish." Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads\

"Caroline Eden, whose book Black Sea was showered with awards, is on the road again, this time travelling through the heart of Asia. It's not your usual cookbook, it's more a travel book with recipes, the recipes acting as postcards which…


Book cover of On Food and Cooking

Jenny Linford Author Of The Missing Ingredient: The Curious Role of Time in Food and Flavour

From my list on that help us explore the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a food writer who has long been interested in seeing food in its cultural, historical, and social context. Food is too often put in a neat little box, whereas actually it offers a fascinating prism through which to explore the world. Researching and writing The Missing Ingredient – in which I explore the role of time as the universal, invisible ‘ingredient’ in the food we grow, make, and cook brought this home to me.

Jenny's book list on that help us explore the world

Jenny Linford Why did Jenny love this book?

Truly a remarkable book, this seminal work has been – and continues to be - profoundly influential in shaping our understanding of food. The book’s subtitle – An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture – expresses its huge breadth Writing with great clarity and concision, McGee shares the history of foods – such as cheese, chocolate, grains, sugar – and explains the science of how humans use, cook and preserve them. If you’re at all interested in understanding food better, then this is the book for you.

By Harold McGee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An updated twentieth-anniversary edition of the classic culinary reference features ninety percent new material and provides a wealth of kitchen tips, food-preparation techniques, folklore, literary anecdotes, and health information, in a volume that features particular coverage of trends from the p


Book cover of Stories from the Kitchen

Andrea Israel Author Of The Recipe Club

From my list on sumptuous fiction about food, family and friendship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved books that weave food into the narrative. From essays to novels, I'm interested in the way food informs relationships and memories in stories. When Nancy Garfinkel and I created The Recipe Club, we shared a lot of our own food-related memories and passions. After the novel was published, we formed Recipe Clubs with devoted readers across the country. We traveled all over, hearing real-life stories related to food and friendship, love, and family. Recipes almost always carry stories with them, and the telling of these stories becomes a conduit for expressing our most authentic selves. I think this is why our book has had such great appeal.

Andrea's book list on sumptuous fiction about food, family and friendship

Andrea Israel Why did Andrea love this book?

Stories from the Kitchen is a celebration of food in fiction, an anthology of short stories combined with tidbits from novels. The authors are well known, ranging from Charles Dickens’ “Love and Oysters,” about oysters upending the life of a man and his dependable routines, to Isaak Dineson’s “Babette’s Feast,” in which a lavish dinner served by a French cook transforms the hearts and souls of the most austere members of an isolated Danish community. Another story of particular interest: M.F.K. Fisher’s heartbreaking “A Kitchen Allegory.” As in Fisher’s gastronomical non-fiction writing, in which food is her greatest metaphor, this slice of fiction uses food as a source of empathy for a woman who has to reckon with no longer being needed. Reading this entire collection underscores how my own book—though unprecedented in its number of recipes tucked within a novel— stands on a long tradition of food as…

By Diana Secker Tesdell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stories from the Kitchen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stories from the Kitchen is a one-of-a-kind anthology of classic tales showcasing the culinary arts from across the centuries and around the world.

Here is a mouthwatering smorgasbord of stories with food in the starring role, by a range of masters of fiction—from Dickens and Chekhov to Isaac Bashevis Singer, from Shirley Jackson to Jim Crace and Amy Tan. These richly varied selections offer tastes as decadent as caviar and as humble as cherry pie. They dazzle with the sumptuous extravagance of Isak Dinesen’s “Babette’s Feast” and console with a prisoner’s tender final meal in Günter Grass’s The Flounder. Choice…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in cooking, bread, and France?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about cooking, bread, and France.

Cooking Explore 101 books about cooking
Bread Explore 16 books about bread
France Explore 906 books about France