Weekend Cooking: What’s on the TBR Pile

weekendcookingWelcome to another installation of Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

I am hopelessly addicted to collecting cookbooks and food related books…and then not reading them. I don’t know why they sit unread on my shelves, but they do. I do know why I buy them…I love food, I love thinking of food, I love cooking.

My cooking skills have evolved over the years and I am happy to say I no longer religiously follow recipes. I like to take a recipe and improvise it, substitute in (or out) ingredients, and make the dish my own (which is probably one reason I am also hopelessly addicted to watching Top Chef every week…I am simply amazed at what they create, especially during the Quick Fire challenges).

I digress…back to the subject at hand.

Really what I want to share with you today are some of the fantastic food related books I’ve bought in the last year or so…and which I am determined to read before the end of 2010.


BreadAlone BakersApprentice

  • Bread Alone, by Judith Ryan Hendricks – Emotionally devastated thirty one year old Wynter Morrison heals from a failed marriage by baking bread.
  • The Baker’s Apprentice, by Judith Ryan Hendricks – Wynter Morrison faces more challenges in Seattle.


i-loved-i-lost JulieandJulia Tenderbone ThousandDays

  • I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, by Giulia Melucci – A woman looking everywhere for love, and finding it on the stove.
  • Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell – 365 days of cooking with Julia Child
  • Tender at the Bone, by Ruth Reichl – The coming of age of a culinary sensation
  • A Thousand Days in Tuscany: A Bittersweet Adventure, by Marlena De Blasi – An American chef and food writer takes the reader to Tuscany…and the world’s best food.

Non Fiction:


  • American Artisanal: Finding the Country’s Best Real Food from Cheese to Chocolate, by Rebecca Gray – Discover how and where food is being made the right way.


ImprovisationalCook ArtofSimpleFood

  • The Improvisational Cook, by Sally Schneider – Declare your independence from recipes and a set list of ingredients
  • The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters – Eat locally and sustainably, eat seasonally, cook simply…

Have any of you read these books? They look great, don’t they?

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    • Beth F on November 22, 2009 at 10:55

    Please someone, answer this questions: “I don’t know why they sit unread on my shelves, but they do.” I have the same problem.

    In fact, I’m using the Women Unbound challenge to read a bunch of biographies and memoirs I have of women chefs! I don’t own A Thousand Days in Tuscany — that’s one I’ll have to track down.

    Oh and the Judith Ryan Hendricks books are totally new to me! Yay. More books to collect.

    Your other books look good too. Some I’ve read, some I have here to read (like Julie and Julia). Hoping 2010 is full of food books.

    • Kathy on November 22, 2009 at 11:39

    I love to read about food and cooking, but I don’t love to cook. Well, I guess it’s not so much the cooking I don’t love – it’s the figuring out what to cook. Carl is addicted to Top Chef too.

    • JoAnn on November 22, 2009 at 12:18

    I love to cook and read about it, too! Tender at the Bone was very popular with my book club a few years ago and I enjoyed De Blasi’s A Thousand Days in Venice last summer. Have been wanting to read her Tuscany book ever since. It picks up where Venice ends.

    • Rebecca on November 22, 2009 at 12:30

    I am not a good cook. But I am watching Top Chef marathon and am being a little inspired by the unique dishes. I think part of my problem is when I am inspired to cook, I don’t have the ingredients. When I do, I am having a flare-up with my fibro. I need to find a way to cook without fresh ingredients! (Oh, and burning myself…)

    • Staci on November 22, 2009 at 13:46

    They all look wonderful and I love cookbooks too just not the thought of cooking. Bread Alone is one book that I truly want to get read sometime.

    • Lisa on November 22, 2009 at 17:48

    My aunt and uncle recommended A Thousand Days In Tuscany to me but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ll look forward to hearing what you think of it when you, of course, get to it along with all of the others!

    • jill on November 22, 2009 at 18:14

    Great post!!

    I’m obsessed with Top Chef, too (and I called the final four for this season from the first episode). They just released the Quick Fire cookbook, btw.

    I loved the Hendricks novels, and once you read Tender at the Bone, you need to read Reichl’s subsequent one, Comfort Me with Apples.

    I’m such a fan of food novels and memoirs!

    • Typ0 on November 23, 2009 at 00:57

    I read I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti earlier this year. It’s a fun read. Although i haven’t read the recipes contained therein a number of them looked doable and tasty!

    • Kristen on November 23, 2009 at 03:48

    I have read three of your nine and have another three. I am a little obsessed with food related books as well. I’m not a stellar cook myself but I can follow a recipe like nobody’s business. And I love to watch food porn when I get the chance. 😉

    • Wendy on November 26, 2009 at 10:30

    Beth: LOL! You and I sound like two peas in a pod!! Food and books…what could possibly be a better combination! Happy reading 🙂

    Kathy: It seems a lot of people don’t like to cook…I have my favorite things I do all the time, but I like nothing better than to try something new.

    JoAnn: Looks like I’ll have to get DeBlasi’s other books if I ever get the Tuscany book read *laughs*

    Rebecca: *nods* Having fresh ingredients on hand is always a bonus. But part of the fun really is improvising recipes…so even if you don’t have ALL the ingredients, you can still pull together a dish. I credit my oldest sister for teaching me that…she is an amazing improvisational cook.

    Staci: After I read Hendrick’s third novel this year, I went out and bought her first two. I can’t wait to actually read them *laughs*

    Lisa: I think I’ll really enjoy DeBlasi’s book…hopefully you’ll get to read my thoughts on it soon!

    Jill: Who do you think is going to win Top Chef this year??? I think one of the brothers…but I am secretly pulling for the only female left *laughs* I’ve made a note of Reichl’s other book (thanks!!!)

    Typ0: I remember your review of Loved, Lost, Made Spaghetti because it made me want to read the book!

    Kristen: Food porn *laughing* great description!!!

    • Tara on November 30, 2009 at 08:25

    Oh, I envy you getting to read some of these books for the first time! I loved the Judith Ryan Hendricks books (esp Bread Alone), also Ruth Reichl’s books are amazing, and I adore The Art of Simple Food! Lucky you!

    • Wendy on December 9, 2009 at 13:42

    Tara: I’ve only read one book by Hendricks (her last one), but LOVED her writing. I went right out and bought the bread books…now I need to make time to read them *laughs*

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