Top Ten Books Food and Cooking Lovers Need this Summer

Top Ten Summer Books for Food and Cooking Lovers 

Are you looking for a good book, or two or three for the beach, boat, or campsite this summer? We have compiled a list of our top ten (there are really twelve), food and cooking books for those of us that love food, cooking, and a good story. All these books are non-fiction. Whether entwined with history, rich characters that are hard to believe are real, or a life story that is worthy of being told, all these books offer page turning interest.

One can read the entire list of Top Ten Summer Books for Food and Cooking Lovers or simply listen to each of them on apps such as Audible. We all know consistent reading strengthens one’s ability to communicate, improves vocabulary, concentration, and critical thinking. But what about just listening to a book? Is that cheating?

Girl on beach reading

 Whether reading or listening to our Top Ten Summer Books for Food and Cooking Lovers , one is still processing information associated with story comprehension. The brain is still working to connect the pieces of the puzzle, making sense of the plot, and attempting to predict what will happen next. But there are some differences in terms of how this information is processed. Both formats engage multiple brain networks, and while reading verse listening may activate the brain in different ways, semantic processing occurs in the same cortical areas.

What is “Semantic Processing”? Straight from Wikipedia: It is the processing that occurs after we hear a word and encode its meaning. Semantic processing causes us to relate the word we just heard to other words with similar meanings. Once a word is perceived, it is placed in a context mentally that allows for a deeper processing.

So, if you have the time, read, read, read! But if you don’t, listen in your car, while waiting for appointments, listen while cleaning your house, listen while gardening, walking, watching your kid’s baseball game. Either way, I hope you find a few gems from my list of Top Ten Summer Books for Food and Cooking Lovers. I have read and enjoyed them all!  Here they are in no particular order:

PS: Keep an eye out for my next blog post on “An Additional Top Ten Summer Books: Wine and Champagne Edition”.

Top Ten Books Food and Cooking Lovers Need This Summer

  1. Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at The Table
  2. Comfort Me With Apples: More Adventures at The Table  

Author: Ruth Reichl -  former food editor at The Los Angeles Times, restaurant critic of The New York Times, six-time James Beard winning author, best-selling memoirist and, for a decade, was the last editor of Gourmet magazine before it folded in 2009.

Spiced with Reichl's infectious humor and sprinkled with her favorite recipes, Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me With Apples are witty and compelling chronicles of a culinary journey from childhood to hippie-hood to professional in the food industry.


  1. L’appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making my Paris Home
  2. The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious and Perplexing City


Author: David Lebovitz - is a professional cook, baker and author based in Paris. He started posting recipes online in 1999 and his blog now has quite a following, which includes me. I love the way he writes his blog and I often get a chuckle from his writing style. His recipes are always well tested and delicious. Look up his recipe for Dulce De Leche Brownies, make them and your life will never be the same. Here is a link to his blog - He has authored eight books from topics ranging from pastries to cooking. He is a native of West Harford, CT. Although these two books contain recipes, they are not cookbooks. Enjoy reading them on the beach or wherever your happy place is!


5. Salt: A World History

6. Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man

7. The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell.

Author: Mark Kerlansky- along with other books, he has written 23 non-fiction books, many about various food topics. Kurlansky is an award-winning author including a James Beard award for excellence in food writing and Bon Appetit Food Writer of the Year. He is a native of Hartford, CT. For me, reading doesn’t get much better than when the story involves food, history and is true. Mark Kurlansky’s books tick all those boxes. We would all live a very dull life without salt. Thank God for Clarence Birdseye. Without him we’d be eating even more salt!  And, who knew there was SO much history wrapped up in an Oyster!


  1. Taste: My Life Through Food

Author: Stanley Tucci – Is American Actor whose top movie credits include the 1996 cult classic Big Night, about two brothers in 1950’s New Jersey that own an Italian restaurant and the 2009 movie Julie and Julia where he played Paul Childs, the husband of Julia. He is a passionate foodie, especially for Italian food and can now be seen in the excellent CNN series Searching for Italy. His most recent book is filled with stories and recipes from family, shooting the films Big Night and Julie & Julia and his life’s journey through food.


  1. Founding Foodies: How Washington, Jefferson & Franklin Revolutionized American Cuisine

Author Dave DeWitt- is a food historian and one of the world’s foremost experts on hot peppers. He has authored more than forty books about food and horticulture and is an adjunct associate professor in the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University.

Ever wonder how certain foods came to be such huge staples of American culinary history? In this fascinating mashup between history book and cookbook, one of America's Founding Fathers could be at the source. They were revolutionaries in politics and on the battlefield. But they were also revolutionary farmers, distillers, brewers and more.


  1. The Taste of Conquest: The Rise and Fall Of The Three Great Cities of Spice


Author Michael Krondl - is a food historian and the author of numerous books on food. He is an award-winning cooking instructor, food writer, and former chef. Where would all the worlds cuisine be without the access to spices? Read about the spice trade and follow a gastronomical tour that teaches not only about food and spice but also about world history and commerce.


  1. Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France’s Cote d’Azur and Italy’s Costa Bella

Author David Shalleck –is a fine dining chef, culinary producer, and author working in the United States and abroad.  In his book, he captures the distinctive sights, sounds, and unique character of each beautiful port, the work hard and play hard life of chef and crew on a super yacht. And, the challenges of producing world-class cuisine for stylish, wealthy and demanding owners and their guests. If you like the Bravo TV reality series Below Decks, you will love this book! This is a super easy beach read.


12. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly 

Author Anthony Bourdain - Bourdain probably needs no introduction as he is best known for the two popular TV series No Reservations which aired on the Travel Channel and Parts Unknown on CNN which aired until his death by suicide while filming for the show in France on June 8, 2018. His love of food started in France as a child when he tasted an oyster fresh off a fisherman's boat while on a family vacation.

His book, Kitchen Confidential, a New York Times Best Seller is mostly a biography of his time in restaurants, starting at the bottom, working his way through all positions until he is running a kitchen of his own. A very witty and interesting read, it is filled with stories of food, drugs, misbehavior and more. After reading you will never again order fish on Monday or the special of the day or order your meat well done.

Written by jennifer Ostrowski

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