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I write about books and food here at Book Lovers Pizza, so this list of food memoirs coming out in 2020 is a little bit of a lovely melding of my two worlds.
Last week, as I was writing my list of most anticipated new release books of 2020, I realized there were quite a few food memoirs popping up, so I decided to make a standalone list.
I have not historically read a ton of these types of memoirs, but last year I read and really loved Save Me the Plums which is Ruth Reichl’s memoir (with recipes) about her time at the helm of Gourmet magazine. It was on my list of best new releases of 2019, and I swore I would make room for more like it.
Anyway, if you are a foodie, like me, be sure to have your “to be read” list handy. You are going to want to make note of these delicious books.
Food Memoirs Releasing in 2020 that I Have My Eye On:
Say Grace: How the Restaurant Industry Saved My Life by Steve Palmer (Nov 2019, Forbes Books)
Palmer struggled as a youth with addiction. “Eventually, he would go on to a career running some of the country’s most celebrated and innovative fine dining establishments. But first, he had to learn how to be sober in an industry awash with alcohol and drugs. Thanks to coworkers that were able to love him when he couldn’t love himself, Steve got sober. He escaped addiction alive. Many in the industry do not.” I think this sounds like an eye-opening look at maybe a side of the restaurant industry that is less talked about. (Available now)
Of Morsels and Marvels by Maryse Conde, Translated by Richard Philcox (January 19, Seagull Books)
This award-winning book about cooking and travel from a woman who considers her work in the kitchen akin to that of an artist with a brush, was originally published in 2015 and is now available in English. “In Of Morsels and Marvels, Condé takes us on a literary journey around places she has travelled to in India, Indonesia, and South Africa. She highlights the tastes and culinary traditions that are fascinating examples of a living museum. Such places, Condé explains, provide important insights into lesser-known aspects of contemporary life.” The author’s husband translates this book that “blends travel with gastronomy” and includes anecdotes about the author’s life with food. (Available now)
A Blissful Feast: Culinary Adventures in Italy’s Piedmont, Maremma, and La Marche by Teresa Lust (March 3, Pegasus)
“Moving from the Italian Piedmont to the Maremma and then to Le Marche, chef Teresa Lust interweaves portraits of the people who served as her culinary guides with cultural and natural history in this charming exploration of authentic Italian cuisine.” This seems like a very in depth and intimate look at Italian cooking, which I am hoping can provide some inspiration for my own kitchen.
Always Home: A Daughter’s Recipes & Stories by Fanny Singer (March 31, Appetite/Random House)
“A memoir about growing up as the daughter of culinary legend Alice Waters: a story of food, family, figuring out who you are, and the bond between a daughter and mother.” I have little to no knowledge about Alice Waters other than generally recognizing her name and its connection with food, so I am very interested in learning more as told by her daughter.
Eat a Peach: A Memoir by David Chang (April 21, Clarkson Potter)
Chang tells of his experience opening a noodle restaurant in NYC “that should not have survived its first, misbegotten year.” Chang was determined, though, and through his strong will and a little good luck, it became a success. “The chef behind Momofuku and star of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious gets uncomfortably real in his debut memoir.”
Everything is Under Control: A Memoir with Recipes by Phyllis Grant (April 21, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
“Written with the raw transparency of a diarist, Everything Is Under Control is an unputdownable series of vignettes followed by tried-and-true recipes from Grant’s table–a heartrending yet unsentimental portrait of the highs and lows of young adulthood, motherhood, and a life in the kitchen.” I can’t really put my finger on what appeals to me about this except it sounds relatable to me in my current stage of life.
Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, a Tather and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking by Bill Bufort (May 5, Random House LP)
“From the author of the best-selling, widely acclaimed Heat–a new hilariously self-deprecating, highly obsessive account of the author’s adventures, this time, in the world of French haute cuisine.” I love the perspective of this one as it pertains to “sleuthing” out the secret of French cooking.
Let Them Eat Pancakes: How I Survived in Paris Without Losing My Head by Craig Carlson (June 2, Pegasus)
This title tells of Carlson’s adventures opening an American diner in Paris. From hilarious encounters with eccentric customers to dealing with the French bureaucracy, this one sounds like a fun and interesting look at life in France alongside the real struggles of a restauranteur.
What new food memoirs are you excited about in 2020?
If you liked this post, you might also like:
Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl: My Review
Best Books of 2019: Back List (older, non new release books)