Our Staff Picks the Best Books to Buy for Food Lovers

It will probably not come as a shock to you that Allrecipes employees like food. We like it a lot. And we’ll take it any way we can get it, even if it’s in the form of the written word. Here are our picks for books about food that make excellent gifts for the food lover on your list; they’re sure to entertain and inspire.

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Non-Fiction Page Turners

From behind-the-scenes restaurant tales to literal food for thought, these books keep it real (and tasty).
Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany, by Bill Buford

“Buford leads us into wild world of Mario Batali’s famed restaurant, Babbo, gives us a glimpse of the Batali’s genius, and shows us what it looks like to be obsessed with food.” says Kevin Thomas, who oversees Allrecipes business strategy. This one might leave you with some Italian food cravings. Might we suggest these Italian Meatballs?

Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs

Thomas also loves Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. “Bourdain takes us into the fascinating nooks and crannies of the crazy restaurant biz,” he says.

In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan

User Experience Designer Bryce Gifford recommends this thought-provoking read in which Pollan has a simple suggestion: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler

“This short but dense book gives home cooks the permission to trust their own judgment—to believe they already have the tools and know-how to make use of their ingredients without following a recipe,” says Allrecipes culinary content editor for video, Matt Wencl. “Adler helps this self-trust along with simple suggestions, including a reevaluation of what’s edible or waste-worthy from produce, detailing delicious ways to use stale bread (turn it into soup!), and more.”

Candy Freak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almond

Senior Editor Katie Johnson’s pick describes itself as “A journey through the chocolate underbelly of America.” Consider munching on these Babe Ruth Bars II while you read.

Babe Ruth Bars II

Babe Ruth Bars II

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl

“I loved hearing about her going under cover to write her restaurant reviews,” raves campaign manager Andy Luley.

Fiction You Can Really Sink Your Teeth Into

The food may not be real, but those hunger pangs will be. Might wanna grab some snacks before you dig in to these reads.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

“This is a fantasy book about a group of thieves and a huge heist, but it focuses a lot on the food they eat,” explains Luley about his second favorite food book. “I’m fairly certain he made most of the dishes up, but the book has such a devoted following that people have written recipes for the food in the book.”

Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Patterson

“The main character, Gerald, is a clueless, Brit ex-pat living in Tuscany. His neighbor, Marta, is a ‘Voynovian’ musician. Also, there’s a case of Fernet Branca (an herbal liqueur) involved,” describes Senior Site Producer Beverly Rengert. “Gerald claims to despise Fernet, yet it somehow makes its way into whatever hilarious concoction he creates. The recipes are included in the book: Badger Wellington, anyone? This book is laugh-out-loud hilarious.” 

Kid-Friendly Foodie Reads

Start ’em young with a couple of our favorites that are perfect for story time.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

We recommend sipping some homemade hot cocoa while you read customer acquisition pro Ingrid Killian’s pick.

Homemade Hot Chocolate

A Toad for Tuesday by Russell E Erickson

“Morton loves to cook, and his brother Wharton loves to clean,” says senior content manager Frances Crouter. “Wharton sets off in winter with a box of beetle brittle for his Aunt Toolia, and is captured by an owl. The descriptions of ant-egg salad sandwiches and juniper berry tea are great.”

More Bookish Ideas: