Since I am an avowed foodie and a bookaholic, what better way to make me happy than with a book about food? I am a Top Chef fanatic, so I'm eagerly anticipating Gail Simmons' new book Talking with My Mouth Full, which will be published at the end of February.
Meanwhile, here are three of my favorite books by food insiders:
Like many of us, Bill Buford fancies himself a star in his own kitchen. But how would he do in the big leagues of a top-shelf restaurant?
In Heat, he sets himself up to find out by working in the kitchen of Babbo, Mario Batali's three-star restaurant in New York. I would have started a little lower down the food chain, but what do I know.
This behind-the-scenes look is hilarious and eye-opening, as Buford works his way up from "kitchen slave" to cook, and learns insider info along the way, such as when an egg was first added to pasta recipes, how to butcher meat, and why you never, ever scrape your knife on a chopping block.
I am a huge fan of Reichl's, particularly her time at Gourmet (oh how I miss that mag). This book covers her earlier work as the restaurant critic for The New York Times.
In an effort to keep her experience at each restaurant as "ordinary" as possible, Reichl went to great lengths to disguise herself, often returning to the same restaurant several times unrecognized.
As she tries out all the chic eateries as an anonymous citizen, Reichl uncovers the best and the worst, not only in the food served but also in the attitudes on offer from the staff.
Funny and enlightening, Garlic and Sapphires shows why Reichl is an astonishing six-time James Beard Award winner for her writing.
As a restaurant critic for London's Observer, Jay Rayner has eaten in some of the best (and priciest) establishments around the globe. He has also paid ungodly sums for those meals, arguing that it's as much about the experience as the food.
So what is the perfect meal worth, and how far would you travel to get it? Dry Brit-wit Rayner takes us inside some of the most exclusive restaurants, showcasing why a magical combination of ingredients becomes something more than just food.
Eat something before you begin to read, and then be ready to start planning your next vacation to some exotic locale.
More to Ingest
The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen, by Jacques Pepin
The Devil in the Kitchen, Marco Pierre White
Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain
My Life in France, by Julia Child
The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry, by Kathleen Flinn
Tender at the Bone, by Ruth Reichl