Summer food book club reading list: Part 1

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Cookbooks, memoirs of culinary genius and food laughs (think Julie and Julia) are all on my list for summer reading. I’m just not sure which of these to open first!

My process for finding books I want to read:

Open up the Kindle and check out what samples I downloaded recently, then proceed to the book store and download more samples

Check out Amazon’s “people also bought this” category until I end up with a list of books on nutrition and diet, in which I’ve gone to far and need to turn back.

Add books I’m interested in to my wish list.

Research the library to see what’s available for pick-up or download (Marion county in Indiana has thousands of e-books with a surprising collection devoted to food)

Check out, request items and start reading.

I’m trying to stay on a budget of $20 or less spent on books per month.  I received a $150 gift card in February and made it last until June, but now I’m on my own. However, the Indianapolis Public Library also has monthly book sales where I can pick up books for anywhere between 50 cents and 2 bucks. I really hope your city has something similar!

This is my current haul to get started on for July:

Summer food books part 1

Summer food books part 1

(I’ve prepped your Amazon wish list by linking you to all the book titles. You can thank me later)

The Preservation Kitchen by Paul Virant and Kate Leahy – the art of putting up food is coming back, and this book is the first authored by a Michelin-starred chef. Paul takes you through the history of why we can, how modern canning is much different than what we did in the 1850s, and discusses the science of how to preserve food. Each recipe has been tested for its PH level – the majority of recipes are safe for water-bath canning, but there are a few that must be pressure canned. These aren’t your typical canned recipes – Peach Saffron Jam, brussel sprouts sauerkraut, and beer jam are just a few I’m ready to try!

PLENTY: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi by  Yotam Ottolenghi – This is packed with recipes where vegetables are the main ingredient. In an effort to add more veggies to our family’s diet (because right now they consist of cheese and beer) I grabbed this to see if there’s any twist to the usual preparations that might intrigue us to give something a try.

My Life in France by Julia Child – Julia’s been on my wish list for a while. I was a fan of her show growing up watching it on PBS after Sesame Street was over and even went to an opera inspired by Julia a few months ago (also with mom). I’m hoping that this book enlightens me more on Julia’s life and less of her recipes – don’t get me wrong, I almost picked up Master the Art of French Cooking at the library but hesitated because her recipes just haven’t grown on me yet. Maybe Julie and Julia just scared me too much. We’ll see.

Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession by Julie Powell – Appropriately following Julia Child is Cleaving, the follow-up novel to Julie and Julia. I’ve read not-so-good reviews on this but I’m interested in the story. It seems like what every food blogger is thinking about, meaning, what happens after I’m done writing? That was the problem with Julie’s project, it was short term (albeit 365 days) and she decided to depart from Julia Child and move to, what else, the world of butchery. I think it has potential. Hopefully her writing style is similar to her first book.

Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reichl – I’m really into female memoirs right now, but I’m also paying attention to how people write about themselves and food at the same time. Books are really really really really really long blogs, but they all tell a story that has a beginning, middle and end. Ruth’s novel was a recommendation through Amazon and I’ve seen it in other “best of food books” lists.

What’s on YOUR reading list?


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  • Wade Wingler

    Although I have lots of cookbooks, I find that I often turn to the one that my grandmother, and mother always had on their kitchen cabinet – Better Homes and Garden. (

    • solidgoldeats

      Saw that at Half Price Books, hoping I can pick up a copy at the book sale.

  • Cole Farrell

    Some great recommendations here! I’ve been reading a lot about cooking. I would highly recommend Tamar Adler’s “An Everlasting Meal.” It’s a great narrative about cooking without waste, and it has been an invaluable resource for me as I try to transition from a fast food life.

    I have MAJOR beef with “Cleaving.” We should discuss it after you read it…it frustrates nearly every part of me. As a writer, as a reader, as a human, and as someone who loves food and wrestles with eating meat.

    • solidgoldeats

      Thanks for the rec! I will add it to my Wish List. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about “Cleaving,” still gonna give it a shot. I won’t finish it if I dont like it, though. Will definitely share with you when I get started.