Online Reading Challenge – February

Hello and Welcome Back Challenge Readers!

A new month means it’s time for a new topic for our Challenge and this month it’s : Food.

(Oh, this could be trouble. I feel like I’m putting on a few pounds just thinking about all the great descriptions of food….)

There is a veritable feast of choices (haha, see what I did there?) with this topic. Let’s get started with some suggestions.

If you’re interested in fiction try Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate where a woman’s emotions are infused into the food she prepares. Chocolat by Joanne Harris brings more magical, this time to the world of sweets. For something as light and sweet as angel food cake (more food jokes!), reach for Jeanne Ray’s Eat Cake, a delightful story about a woman saving the day with her baking. (Fun Fact: Ray is award-winning author Ann Patchet’s mother!) Like graphic novels? They you must read Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley which sets the standard for excellence in graphic novels.

For many years my number one, go-to, loved-by-everyone book recommendation was Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. It seems like everyone has read it by now but if you haven’t, you’re in for a real treat, by turns (very) funny, heartbreaking and bittersweet, it’s a joyful celebration of community brought together by a diner.

There are lots of food mysteries too including the Tea Shop mysteries by Laura Childs and the Hannah Swenson mysteries by Joanne Fluke.

For non-fiction there’s Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle where she and her family spend a year eating only what they can raise themselves or purchase from neighboring farmers. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell follows Powell as she sets out to cook every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The Gourmet Cookie Book is a unique way to study history – it lists the single best cookie recipe from Gourmet magazine (now defunct) from 1941 to 2009. The recipes reflect things such as food shortages and rationing during World War II and the trend for new and exotic in later years. It’s fascinating!

And it seems like any memoir set in France (A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle) or Italy (Under the Tuscan Sun by Francis Mayes) is going to have large, lovely portions dedicated to the joy of eating.

Finally, the library has a huge selection of cookbooks from exotic coffee-table worthy tomes to practical, simple meal plans. You’ll find a wide range of ethnic and specialty topics, many with gorgeous, mouth-watering photography. (My Mom used to read cookbooks like a novel, reading and relishing each recipe whether she planned to attempt to make it or not.) If anyone should happen to read one of those lovely cookbooks and happen to drop off some homemade cookies or bread or cake to prove that they finished this month’s Challenge, well, that would just be a shame, wouldn’t it?

I’m not the cook that my Mother was (Although I’m quite accomplished at eating! ha) so I’m going to pass on the cookbooks. Instead I’m planning on reading Delicious by Ruth Reichl about a woman who takes over a food magazine just as it collapses. Reichl has written some award-winning memoirs (which would also be great for this month’s Challenge) with gorgeous titles such as Comfort Me with Apples, Garlic and Sapphires, Tender at the Bone and a new one coming out in April, Save Me the Plums. Oh gosh, I’m so hungry now….

What about you? What delicious book do you plan to read in February?

 

 

2 thoughts on “Online Reading Challenge – February

  1. Ah, food! One of my favorite topics. So many options! I do love to read fiction about little cafes, and cupcake shops. I’m also partial to memoirs about those passionate, determined people who make it good in the food world. I’ve even been known to read a cookbook or two!!
    I got excited and put quite a few food related titles on hold at the library, but now I’m not sure if I will get to them. I’m currently reading The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg, and have fallen in love with the characters! I want to live in their small home town! There is a second book with the same characters, Night of Miracles, and I believe that one of them is going to be teaching some cooking/baking classes. Can’t wait to see what happens next in the neighborhood!

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