10 books like The Gastronomical Me

By M.F.K. Fisher,

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

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Book cover of Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Essays

Robert Rosen Author Of A Brooklyn Memoir: My Life as a Boy

From the list on memoirs, essays, and fiction inspiring me to write.

Who am I?

I’m a Brooklyn-born writer of what’s now called “creative nonfiction,” and whatever literary success I’ve had, I attribute in part to having studied the works of Hunter S. Thompson, Henry Miller, Philip Roth, Joan Didion, and Joseph Heller. I’ve assimilated their voices and used them as guides to help me find my own voice. Read any of my books and you’ll find subtle (and at times not so subtle) echoes of this Holy Quintet. My latest book, A Brooklyn Memoir, is in part an homage to Miller’s Black Spring.

Robert's book list on memoirs, essays, and fiction inspiring me to write

Discover why each book is one of Robert's favorite books on memoirs, essays, and fiction inspiring me to write .

Why this book?

Slouching Towards Bethlehem is a master class in how to write a personal essay. Every essay Didion writes in any of her books is beautifully rendered—she doesn’t waste a word—as well as emotionally engaging and well reported and researched. Whatever she’s writing about—politics, California, rock musicians—you are there with her, on the scene. The book’s preface explains how and why Didion did what she did and contains this nugget of truth: Writers are always selling somebody out. And the title essay is simply the best piece of writing I’ve ever read about Haight-Ashbury and the 1960s.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

By Joan Didion,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Slouching Towards Bethlehem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joan Didion's savage masterpiece, which, since first publication in 1968, has been acknowledged as an unparalleled report on the state of America during the upheaval of the Sixties Revolution.

We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were

In her non-fiction work, Joan Didion not only describes the subject at hand - her younger self loving and leaving New York, the murderous housewife, the little girl trailing the rock group, the millionaire bunkered in his mansion…


Book cover of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War

Denise Kiernan Author Of We Gather Together: A Nation Divided, a President in Turmoil, and a Historic Campaign to Embrace Gratitude and Grace

From the list on on or by maverick women.

Who am I?

Denise Kiernan is a multiple New York Times bestselling author of narrative nonfiction books including The Girls Of Atomic City, The Last Castle, and We Gather Together. Throughout her career as a journalist and an author, she has explored underrepresented stories and characters and the impact they have had on history. These stories of the unsung offer fresh perspectives on historical tales we think we already know. At the heart of many of Kiernan’s nonfiction explorations are women from a variety of different backgrounds and time periods.

Denise's book list on on or by maverick women

Discover why each book is one of Denise's favorite books on on or by maverick women .

Why this book?

As not only a reader but also as a writer I enjoy coming at significant moments in American history through distinct experiences and characters, with all of their talents and trials and shortcomings explored along the way. This look at the Civil War is intimate and engrossing, taking readers through tremendous conflict with four very unique women as their guides.

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

By Karen Abbott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Not for nothing has Abbott been called a ‘pioneer of sizzle history.’ Here she creates a gripping page-turner that moves at a breathtaking clip through the dramatic events of the Civil War.”  — Los Angeles Times

Karen Abbott, the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and “pioneer of sizzle history” (USA Today), tells the spellbinding true story of four women - a socialite, a farmgirl, an abolitionist, and a widow - who risked everything to become spies during the Civil War.

After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle…


Sargent's Women

By Donna M. Lucey, Donna M. Lucey,

Book cover of Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas

Denise Kiernan Author Of We Gather Together: A Nation Divided, a President in Turmoil, and a Historic Campaign to Embrace Gratitude and Grace

From the list on on or by maverick women.

Who am I?

Denise Kiernan is a multiple New York Times bestselling author of narrative nonfiction books including The Girls Of Atomic City, The Last Castle, and We Gather Together. Throughout her career as a journalist and an author, she has explored underrepresented stories and characters and the impact they have had on history. These stories of the unsung offer fresh perspectives on historical tales we think we already know. At the heart of many of Kiernan’s nonfiction explorations are women from a variety of different backgrounds and time periods.

Denise's book list on on or by maverick women

Discover why each book is one of Denise's favorite books on on or by maverick women .

Why this book?

There are many ways to approach history. Donna Lucey brilliantly chose to usher readers into the world of the Gilded Age via the captivating canvases of that era’s most sought-after portraitist, John Singer Sargent. There are always more stories lurking behind Sargent’s luxurious depictions of his subjects, and Lucey gets beneath the paint and the posing to give us her own picture of four very real women whose lives are far more nuanced than any portrait sitting can convey.

Sargent's Women

By Donna M. Lucey, Donna M. Lucey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With unprecedented access to newly discovered sources, Donna M. Lucey illuminates the lives of four women painted by the society portraitist John Singer Sargent. With uncanny clairvoyance, Sargent's portraits hint at the mysteries, passions and tragedies that unfolded in his subjects' lives. Elsie Palmer carried on a labyrinthine love life in a Rocky Mountain castle; Elizabeth Chanler stepped into a maze of infidelity with her best friend's husband; as the veiled image of Sally Fairchild emerged on the canvas, her sister was lured into an ill-fated life in art; and shrewd Isabella Stewart Gardner collected both art and young men.…


First Women

By Kate Andersen Brower,

Book cover of First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies

Denise Kiernan Author Of We Gather Together: A Nation Divided, a President in Turmoil, and a Historic Campaign to Embrace Gratitude and Grace

From the list on on or by maverick women.

Who am I?

Denise Kiernan is a multiple New York Times bestselling author of narrative nonfiction books including The Girls Of Atomic City, The Last Castle, and We Gather Together. Throughout her career as a journalist and an author, she has explored underrepresented stories and characters and the impact they have had on history. These stories of the unsung offer fresh perspectives on historical tales we think we already know. At the heart of many of Kiernan’s nonfiction explorations are women from a variety of different backgrounds and time periods.

Denise's book list on on or by maverick women

Discover why each book is one of Denise's favorite books on on or by maverick women .

Why this book?

The First Lady of the United States is a challenging role that has been navigated by an incredibly wide array of women over the years. Brower has interviewed many of them, and the insights she gives readers into their day-to-day lives—at turns uplifting and heartbreaking—make for an incredibly relatable and inspiring book. This is as behind-the-White House-scenes as you can get. From Jaqueline Kennedy to Michelle Obama, Brower offers an incredibly intimate look at this often misunderstood role in American politics.

First Women

By Kate Andersen Brower,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the groundbreaking backstairs look at the White House, The Residence, comes an intimate, news-making look at the true modern power brokers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: the First Ladies, from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama and Melania Trump. One of the most underestimated-and challenging-positions in the world, the First Lady of the United States must be many things: an inspiring leader with a forward-thinking agenda of her own; a savvy politician, skilled at navigating the treacherous rapids of Washington; a wife and mother operating under constant scrutiny; and an able CEO responsible…


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 the list on provincial French cooking for home cooks.

Who am I?

Clifford A. Wright is a cook, food writer, and independent research scholar who won the James Beard Cookbook of the Year award and the James Beard Award for the Best Writing on Food in 2000 for A Mediterranean Feast. He is the author of 16 books, fourteen of which are cookbooks, as well as writing 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.

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

Discover why each book is one of Clifford's favorite books on provincial French cooking for home cooks .

Why 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.

Traditional Recipes of the Provinces of France

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


The Art of Eating

By M.F.K. Fisher,

Book cover of The Art of Eating

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

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

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Mary's favorite books on food catering to the plate, the eye, and the mind .

Why 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.

The Art of Eating

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…


The Perfectionist

By Rudolph Chelminski,

Book cover of The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine

Mark Spivak Author Of Friend of the Devil

From the list on human obsession.

Who am I?

From an early age, it became obvious there were two types of people in the world. There were those who played it safe, who sold life insurance or worked for the government, who took their kids to soccer games and dutifully hosted Thanksgiving dinner. Then there were those who were haunted and driven by inner forces they couldn’t begin to understand. After realizing that I fell into the second category, I discovered many kindred spirits who had written books. While some of them sugar-coated their stories into “page-turners” or “beach reads,” the core of human obsession was unmistakable. I resolved to explore the outer edge of that obsession.

Mark's book list on human obsession

Discover why each book is one of Mark's favorite books on human obsession .

Why this book?

Think Friend of the Devil is merely fiction? Consider this: Bernard Loiseau rose from obscurity to the pinnacle of his profession, earning the ultimate accolade of three stars in the Michelin Guide for his restaurant La Côte d’Or in Saulieu, France. Yet in 2003, immediately after the lunch service, this acclaimed chef blew his brains out with a shotgun. The Perfectionist traces his life, obsessions, and insecurities to give us a chilling portrait of why attaining your dreams might be the most dangerous situation of all.

The Perfectionist

By Rudolph Chelminski,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An unforgettable portrait of France’s legendary chef, and the sophisticated, unforgiving world of French gastronomy

Bernard Loiseau was one of only twenty-five French chefs to hold Europe’s highest culinary award, three stars in the Michelin Red Guide, and only the second chef to be personally awarded the Legion of Honor by a head of state. Despite such triumphs, he shocked the culinary world by taking his own life in February 2003. TheGaultMillau guidebook had recently dropped its ratings of Loiseau’s restaurant, and rumors swirled that he was on the verge of losing a Michelin star (a prediction that proved to…


Stories from the Kitchen

By Diana Secker Tesdell,

Book cover of Stories from the Kitchen

Andrea Israel Author Of The Recipe Club

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

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of Andrea's favorite books on sumptuous fiction about food, family and friendship .

Why 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…

Stories from the Kitchen

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…


Between Meals

By A.J. Liebling,

Book cover of Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris

James N. McKean Author Of Quattrocento

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

Who am I?

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

Discover why each book is one of James' favorite books on to drop the hook and read at anchor .

Why 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).

Between Meals

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 Everything But the Squeal: A Year of Pigging Out in Northern Spain

Lisa Rose Wright Author Of Plum, Courgette & Green Bean Tart: A year to write home about - Seeking la vida dulce in Galicia

From the list on Galicia Spain.

Who am I?

I have lived in beautiful green Galicia for 14 years and am passionately in love with this undiscovered area of Spain. Whilst writing my own travelogue memoirs, I have avidly researched my adopted country and love nothing more than to travel the area, discovering new delights round each corner. I have discovered that Galicia is not just ‘that wet bit of Spain’ and is in fact a whole world away from the Mediterranean costas of the south with its own language – the language of poets, its own identity, and its very own being. Here I have tried to choose books I feel demonstrate that uniqueness, that special quality which makes Galicia extraordinary.

Lisa's book list on Galicia Spain

Discover why each book is one of Lisa's favorite books on Galicia Spain .

Why this book?

A Yorkshireman married to a Galega, John Barlow has a unique perspective on Galicia and Galician people. Add to that a wild idea to travel throughout Galicia over the course of a year trying to eat every part of a pig (except the squeal), and you have a book which beautifully evokes the people, the landscape, and especially the gastronomic fiestas of this area. Galicia has traditionally had a heavy reliance on the pig, often grown at home on scraps: Barlow writes with humour and a love of Galician food but he missed out the most famous of all the piggy fiestas… around our own town of Taboada anyway, A Festa do Caldo de ósos. Yum!

Everything But the Squeal

By John Barlow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everything But the Squeal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

John Barlow, self-confessed glutton, found himself in a tricky situation: living in one of the most meat-loving places on earth, married to a vegetarian.  The Barlows live in Galicia, the misty-green northwest corner of Spain, and home to a population that reveres and consumes every part of the pig. This gets Barlow thinking about the nature of our relationship with food—what’s delicious, what’s nasty, and what sort of obligation we have to the animals we eat. Over the course of one glorious, bilious year, Barlow vows to eat everything but the squeal.  In his travels, Barlow takes part in the…


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