I love to consume knowledge like it’s my business (and luckily for me, it is part of my business!). Here I’ve compiled a list of my recommended books for all things food. It’s a mixture of my favorite cookbooks, great reads for food bloggers, and other inspirational foodie stories. I hope you enjoy!
Written by the grandnephew of M.F.K. Fisher, Provence, 1970 tells the story of one year in the lives of the now infamous chefs whose names grace the cover of this book and the cookbook shelves of chefs all over the country. It is the illuminating and heavenly tale of how these fine chefs came to shape the world of American culinary cuisine as we know it: and it’s an absolutely fascinating foray into their world and their minds. I loved being immersed in these French countryside memories as these culinary masterminds shaped the future of American food!
Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set), by Julia Child
Speaking of Julia Child, the two volume set Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a must-have for any foodie or chef. Here you’ll learn the basics of how to cook French cuisine, as taught by French chefs for “the servant less American cook.”
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking, by Samin Nosrat
This book was a recent addition to my collection, a gift from my sister-in-law. And I can figure out how I went so long without it in my library! This book teaches you the nitty-gritty science behind why cooking in a certain way with certain ingredients works, but in a way that is totally accessible by the average home cook. If you want to figure out how to really cook instead of just following the directions on the page, this is a must-have book!
For Food Bloggers
The Flavor Bible, by Karen Page
This book seriously is my bible when it comes to flavor in my dishes. Whenever I am stumped on “what goes with this?”, The Flavor Bible’s got my back! This book is divided into sections based on each ingredient, in alphabetical order. For everything from achiote seeds to zucchini blossoms, this book has all different types of other ingredients that go with your chosen key ingredient. They are also nicely categorized from “regularly mentioned” combinations to “highly recommended” combinations. This is great because you can not only find traditional flavor combinations for classic dishes, but less common combinations that have still been proven to work. This book is also useful because it gives various tips and tricks throughout the text in the sidebar. One of my favorites is a sidebar article about balance in your dishes (see page 55 for more!).
Ratio, by Michael Ruhlman
At a fundamental level, cooking (and especially baking) is all about ratios. This is the concept behind Michael Ruhlman’s guide to learning proportions and scaling for basic recipes, including breads, pastas, and other doughs, as well as sauces and stocks. With these simple, time-tested ratios, you will be whipping up your own unique variations of classic recipes in no time! Ruhlman teaches us that understanding the ratios between ingredients is one of the most vital components of truly mastering the art of cooking. I love this concept because it allows you to become freed from the boundaries of traditional “read the recipe and follow the steps” cooking so that you can make the next leap in preparing your meals: writing your own recipes!
Will Write for Food, by Dianne Jacob
This is the definitive guide for anyone looking to go into any type of food writing career, be it food blogging, journalism for a newspaper, or the book industry. Jacobs has such a plethora of advice and tips for all types and stages of writing that my copy of this book literally is filled cover to cover with bookmarks and page corners folded over! I really like that she provides exercises throughout the book for helping to develop your food blog concept, which can be a very challenging but necessary task. I feel like this is something that is perpetually helpful to a food blogger because a blog’s concept should be an evolving, fluid idea of what that blogger has to offer to the world of food. This is also a great book because it contains links to further in-depth resources and information about various topics.
Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots, by Nicole S. Young
One of the core ideas behind a food blog is to get across your recipe’s concept and appeal in an entertaining and visually stunning way. A quality photography book can really help you to accomplish this task, and Nicole S. Young’s Food Photography is my favorite book for this. Her book is great because she not only gives practical advice for how to achieve different photography effects, but she walks you through a photographic step-by-step guide for different effects and actions that can help you bring your photography to the next level.
And for those days where you literally just. can. not. this book provides a lot of wonderfully inspiring questions and topics for your blog posts! It is not related specifically to food blogging, but I found that a lot of the topics could be modified to increase their relevance to food and cooking. Overall: a good read for those days when you just don’t know what to write about!