100 books like Stories from the Kitchen

By Diana Secker Tesdell,

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

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Book cover of Chocolat

Jennifer Moorman Author Of The Baker's Man

From my list on magical realism to enchant you and lift your spirits.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated with the extraordinary ever since I read Madeleine L ’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time in middle school. I was also enchanted by Dorothy’s trip from black-and-white Kansas into colorful Oz. I once heard Neil Gaiman mention the “hyperreality” of life, and I thought, Yes! That’s how I want to see the world—the magic everywhere. I voraciously read not only magical realism books but also fantasy. These stories heighten my awareness of the wonder in everything and in everyone, and they deepen the richness of the stories I tell and write.

Jennifer's book list on magical realism to enchant you and lift your spirits

Jennifer Moorman Why did Jennifer love this book?

This story is truly mesmerizing with its quirky and quite sensuous tale.

I am entranced by the colors, the tastes, the scents, and the whimsy that lures me into the plot with its wonderful descriptions.

This novel is a celebration of the senses, and while of a more serious nature, it’s full of pleasure, love, and feel-good sparks.

By Joanne Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Even before it was adapted into the Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, Chocolat entranced readers with its mix of hedonism, whimsy, and, of course, chocolate.

In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc with Lenten vows.

Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Vianne's uncanny perception of its buyer's private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch?

Soon the parish no longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation,…

Book cover of The Joy Luck Club

Kevin Chen Author Of Ghost Town

From my list on family saga books that unravel dark secrets.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have 7 sisters and 1 brother. I was the 9th child in my family. To get a son who would carry on the family heritage, my parents tried 7 times without any success. After 7 unwanted daughters, my brother finally arrived. Then they had me as the second boy in the family. The plot twist was: I am gay. I turned out to be the 8th unwanted daughter because of my sexuality. Coming from this small-town big family full of superstitions and secrets, I am naturally drawn to dramatic family stories with many dark and psychological twists.

Kevin's book list on family saga books that unravel dark secrets

Kevin Chen Why did Kevin love this book?

An ugly cry is inevitable for this book. I read this book with good friends in a book club. We all saw the film adaptation and decided to read the book together. We shared our bawling moments as we discussed the story.

Yes, we all cried. The moms and daughters in this book demanded tears. Even the coolest friend in the book club, who never cried, succumbed to the diaspora in the book. I must confess that crying together in a book club was simply a cathartic experience.

By Amy Tan,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Joy Luck Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The Joy Luck Club is an ambitious saga that's impossible to read without wanting to call your Mum' Stylist

Discover Amy Tan's moving and poignant tale of immigrant Chinese mothers and their American-born daughters.

In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, meet weekly to play mahjong and tell stories of what they left behind in China. United in loss and new hope for their daughters' futures, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club.

Their daughters, who have never heard these stories, think their mothers' advice is irrelevant to their modern American lives - until their own inner…

Book cover of Heartburn

Rachel Dodes and Lauren Mechling Author Of The Memo

From my list on summer books for a breezy day at the beach.

Why are we passionate about this?

Ever since we were kids, we associated the summer with voracious reading. We loved competing in those Summer Reading Challenges to see who could read the most while school was out. (Lauren often won; Rachel was a slower but equally enthusiastic reader.) As we grew up, we realized that a specific type of book exists that aligns with the summer mood–like a bikini, but make it literature. Summer reads can be emotional but not too heavy and contain moments of sadness without dragging us into the abyss. (For winter, we recommend the collected works of the Nobel Prize-winning Icelandic novelist Halldór Laxness.) 

Rachel and Lauren's book list on summer books for a breezy day at the beach

Rachel Dodes and Lauren Mechling Why did Rachel and Lauren love this book?

Even though it came out more than 40 years ago, we had to include this one, the perfect chef’s kiss of a summer read, complete with recipes. The romcom master’s first novel is based on her breakup with her husband Carl Bernstein, the renowned Washington Post Watergate reporter, who had an affair when Ephron was several months pregnant. Instead of moping around, Ephron spun her tragedy into gold: a hilarious novel with a triumphant ending.

As the main character, Rachel tells her therapist (who has asked her why she always turns everything into an amusing story): “Because if I tell the story, I control the version. If I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me. Because if I tell the story, it doesn’t hurt as much. Because if I tell the story, I can get…

By Nora Ephron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If I had to do it over again, I would have made a different kind of pie. The pie I threw at Mark made a terrific mess, but a blueberry pie would have been even better, since it would have permanently ruined his new blazer, the one he bought with Thelma ... I picked up the pie, thanked God for linoleum floor, and threw it'
Rachel Samstat is smart, successful, married to a high-flying Washington journalist... and devastated. She has discovered that her husband is having an affair with Thelma Rice, 'a fairly tall person with a neck as long…

Book cover of Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies

David Ciminello Author Of The Queen of Steeplechase Park

From my list on quirky wisdom filled love stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up queer and Italian in suburban New Jersey in the late 1960s and early 70s, it was the passionate love of food and family that got me through the tough times. I learned to cook from my mother and my grandmothers. I gardened and picked tomatoes with my grandfathers. There was always a pot of simmering tomato gravy and magic meatballs on the stove. My mother’s chicken parmigiana, my paternal grandmother’s homemade ravioli, my maternal grandmother’s stuffed clams, my great aunt’s baked chicken. As a writer, it became my mission to share these secret family recipes and the loving life lessons that saved me.

David's book list on quirky wisdom filled love stories

David Ciminello Why did David love this book?

Laura Esquivel’s delicious love story is chock full of cooking and magic realism. When protagonist Tita first sees Pedro, a forbidden passion ignites and burns bright. It consumes and almost devours the young lovers at the center of this novel.

When I set out to write my book, I wanted to include elements of magic realism and lots of cooking. Growing up Italian in New Jersey, the magic of food was a huge part of my upbringing. Like Tita in Like Water for Chocolate, I learned very early in life that great cooking is the best way to capture and keep anyone’s heart.

By Laura Esquivel,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Like Water for Chocolate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'This magical, mythical, moving story of love, sacrifice and summering sensuality is something I will savour for a long time' MAUREEN LIPMAN

Like Water For Chocolate tells the captivating story of the De la Garza family. As the youngest daughter, Tita is forbidden by Mexican tradition to marry. Instead, she pours all of her emotions into her delicious recipes, which she shares with readers along the way.When Tita falls in love with Pedro, he is seduced by the magical food she cooks.…

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 An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace

Anne Biklé Author Of The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

From my list on microbiomes, gut health, food, and farming.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been enamored with the natural world and how it works. This trait, among others, led me into the fields of biology, natural history, and environmental planning. Even as I witness our species chiseling away at the planet, I find hope and solace. Working alongside the tenacity and resiliency of plants, animals, and soil microbes, I've helped landscapes as large as a river basin and as small as a garden come to life and flourish. Give nature half a chance and she can do wonders.  

Anne's book list on microbiomes, gut health, food, and farming

Anne Biklé Why did Anne love this book?

I would be remiss if I didn't have a "food" book from my list. While I have read and liked many such books, Adler's is the top gem. 

As I read her book, I pictured us in my kitchen conversing about how we had modified a recipe to save time, money, or both. We compared notes on the lost art of thrift in the kitchen; how to turn bread heels, beans, and bones into tasty components of a meal. 

Adler shows us that we can be cooks on our terms, in our own kitchens, delightfully free of pretense and convention. May this book free your mind and inspire you to get creative in the kitchen to discover what's possible!

By Tamar Adler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The most beautifully written description of what cooking is all about, and what it actually is, with recipes' Nigella Lawson

Through the insightful essays in An Everlasting Meal, Tamar Adler issues a rallying cry to home cooks.

In chapters about boiling water, cooking eggs and beans, and summoning respectable meals from empty cupboards, Tamar weaves philosophy and instruction into approachable lessons on instinctive cooking. Tamar shows how to make the most of everything you buy, demonstrating what the world's great chefs know: that great meals rely on the bones and peels and ends of meals before them.

She explains how…

Book cover of Traditional Recipes of the Provinces of France

Clifford A. Wright Author Of A Mediterranean Feast: The Story of the Birth of the Celebrated Cuisines of the Mediterranean from the Merchants of Venice to the Barbary Corsairs, with More than 500 Recipes

From my list on provincial French cooking for home cooks.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an independent research scholar, food writer, and cook who won the James Beard Cookbook of the Year award and the Beard Award for the Best Writing on Food in 2000 for A Mediterranean Feast. I have written 19 books, 17 of which are cookbooks, and two on politics and history. I wrote all the food entries for Columbia University's Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and the entry for tiramisu and other sweets in the Oxford Companion to Sweets. I have written articles on politics, military affairs, foreign policy, history, and botany.

Clifford's book list on provincial French cooking for home cooks

Clifford A. Wright Why did Clifford love this book?

Better known by his pen-name Curnonsky, Maurice Edmond Sailland, was called the Prince of Gastronomy and was the most celebrated writer on gastronomy in France in the 20th century. Notice I say writer on gastronomy and not most famous chef or most famous cookbook author. What Curnonsky did was write about the whys and wherefores of the great provincial cuisines of France. If you think you know something about provincial French cuisine, Curnonsky will enlighten you with his explorations into the culture and geography of these various regions. The recipes in some cases will be unfamiliar and archaic, although no less delicious. The book is a gem.

By Maurice Edmond Sailland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Traditional Recipes of the Provinces of France as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Traditional Recipes of The Provinces of France : Selected By Curnonsky Hardcover– January 1, 1961 by Edwin (Trans. And Ed.) Lavin(Author) Translated and edited by Edwin Lavin, c1961

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 Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris

James N. McKean Author Of Quattrocento

From my list on to drop the hook and read at anchor.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having sailed the East Coast for over sixty years, from Ocracoke to Gaspe, I know that there’s nothing better than a few days of bad weather - if you`re safely at anchor in a well-protected cove. The wind in the rigging, rain drumming on the deck, the stove fired up, a mug of tea (with or without a tot of rum): add a good book, and that is pure happiness. After a hard day's sail - or just drifting along, becalmed - a good book is a sailor`s best friend.

James' book list on to drop the hook and read at anchor

James N. McKean Why did James love this book?

Some books are worth reading just because the writing is so wonderful. But combine that with the subject matter - dining out in Paris - and you are in for a treat. Liebling, a longtime staff writer for the New Yorker, shares with us the sublime art of enjoying a good meal. He also wrote some of the best reporting on the Second World War, landing with the Allies in Morocco and accompanying the troops on the front line through Europe (available as WW2 Writings, Library of America).

By A.J. Liebling,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New Yorker staff writer A.J. Liebling recalls his Parisian apprenticeship in the fine art of eating in this charming memoir, Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris.

“There would come a time when, if I had compared my life to a cake, the sojourns in Paris would have presented the chocolate filling. The intervening layers were plain sponge.”

In his nostalgic review of his Rabelaisian initiation into life’s finer pleasures, Liebling celebrates the richness and variety of French food, fondly recalling great meals and memorable wines. He writes with awe and a touch of envy of his friend and mentor Yves…

Book cover of Taste: Surprising Stories and Science about Why Food Tastes Good

Anthony Gladman Author Of Gin A Tasting Course: A Flavor-focused Approach to the World of Gin

From my list on cocktail-loving flavour fans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I think I was always meant to write about drinks for a living, it just took me a while to realise. Ever since my Dad gave me a copy of Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails as a kid (to look at the cartoonish illustrations) I've been fascinated by these particularly adult delights. I've also followed flavour around all my life like a Loony Tunes figure in the thrall of a beckoning wisp of fragrant steam. Studying this stuff for various drinks industry qualifications has only made that interest grow stronger, and so I take it out on you, dear reader, in the nicest way, of course.

Anthony's book list on cocktail-loving flavour fans

Anthony Gladman Why did Anthony love this book?

No book can ever tell you, definitively, what tastes good. This one can tell you why certain things taste good to you, which is a much more interesting subject to dive into.

I found it fascinating to learn just how much all the other senses are involved when it comes to eating and drinking, it really is the most sensory-stimulating activity in our lives. Ok, perhaps the second most.

This book also goes into a subject that's close to my heart: learning to become a better taster. So many people seem to think your skill at this is fixed at birth. That's not true! If you're anything like me, then you'll love how this book opens up a whole dimension of aroma and flavour and makes your world all the richer for it.

By Barb Stuckey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What if you could get more sensory input, and hence more enjoyment, from the foods you're already eating? You can with a little bit of understanding and practice. Taste What You're Missingexplains the science behind what's happening in your mouth, nose, and mind when you eat.

Stuckey tells fascinating stories about people who've experienced changes or loss of one of their senses, to illuminate aspects of taste many readers never would have noticed or appreciated. People who have damaged their tongues and lost a certain amount of sensitivity; people with anosmia--no sense of smell--like Ben of Ben & Jerry's Ice…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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