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Four mouth-watering food memoirs to read this summer

These recently released food-related books, ranging from intimate memoirs to culinary coming-of-age stories, will take you on a journey across kitchens and cultures.

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by Tembi Locke (Simon & Schuster)

food books
Image: Courtesy Simon & Schuster

This memoir marks the literary debut of Houston-born actress Tembi Locke, who notably starred in ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ and ‘NCIS: LA’. It chronicles three summers she spent in Sicily with her daughter Zoela, as she faced life after the sudden death of her husband. Locke was 20 when met professional Chef Saro, on a street in Florence. Their interracial and intercultural relationship was not approved by his Sicilian traditional family, who even boycotted the wedding. Although Locke was long estranged from her husband’s relatives, she discovers the healing gifts of food and community at her mother-in-law’s table.
The book, which is a combination of travelogue, recipe book and love story, offers a new perspective on mourning. Locke interestingly compares grief to “cheese-making,” arguing that both need “time, labor and attention”.

Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World by Jeff Gordinier (Penguin House Random)

food books
Image: Courtesy Penguin Random House

For four years, food critic Jeff Gordinier traveled the world with acclaimed Danish chef René Redzepi, who is renowned as a creator of New Nordic cuisine. His two-Michelin star restaurant, Noma in Copenhagen has repeatedly landed on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant List. On quest for new inspiration, Redzepi takes Gordinier on a globetrotting culinary adventure, searching for the perfect taco in the jungle of the Yucatán peninsula as well as scouring Sydney for sea rocket and sandpaper figs. The pair also makes stops in the kitchens of Redzepi’s friends and collaborators, including acclaimed chefs Kylie Kwong and Enrique Olvera.

Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bites by Mary Giuliani (Running Press)

food books
Image: Courtesy Running Press

This autobiography brings together a collection of memories from American celebrity caterer Mary Giuliani, from her awkward childhood to her journey to motherhood. As a child, Giuliani yearned to become Jewish to fit in the all-Jewish enclave on Long Island where her overprotective Italian family lived. She later dreamed of becoming an actress, ultimately pivoting to high-end catering. ‘Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bites’ features several recipes, including one for her multicultural ‘Mini Italian Challah Grilled Cheese’.

Notes from a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi with Joshua David Stein (Knopf)

food books
Image: Courtesy Knopf

‘Notes from a Young Black Chef’ retraces the culinary coming-of-age of American-Nigerian Chef Kwame Onwuachi, whose Shaw Bijou was one of the most sought-after restaurants in America. Growing up in the Bronx and Nigeria, Onwuachi launched his own catering company with USD 20,000 that he made from selling candy on the subway. Although he trained in the kitchens of some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the US, Onwuachi struggled to make his mark in the elitist — and mostly white — fine-dining industry. This inspirational memoir has been called the literary heir to late Anthony Bourdain’s eye-opening ‘Kitchen Confidential’. Variety recently revealed that American actor Lakeith Stanfield is set to star as Onwuachi in a forthcoming film adaptation of his book.

Four mouth-watering food memoirs to read this summer

Megha Uppal

An innate love for travel and food has translated into many a trips since childhood for Megha; it also fed her curiosity to know about local cultures. When not writing, she is on the lookout for three things: A great dark chocolate dessert, a beautiful pool where she can practice her backstroke, and art that she can save up for.


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