20 Best Comforting Food Memoirs

I love reading memoirs, and food memoirs in particular appeal to me whenever I feel I need a lift me up. There are loads of comfort foods, and yes, food memoirs can be as comforting as these delicious foods. I have always loved cooking, and I know how a good table puts a smile on a face. If you have ever cooked anything, you understand how creating something edible from scratch feels. And if you have ever shared your cooking with others, you know it is an incredible feeling to feed people. Reading food memoirs is as close to those feelings; that is why I like reading them.

Advertisements


20 Best Comforting Food Memoirs

I wanted this list of food memoirs to be as eclectic as possible and tried to choose different cuisines worldwide. Although there are loads of cookbooks from each country, there isn’t much option for food memoirs, which is a shame. But I hope you’ll find delicious food memoirs to your liking in this list and devour them in a sitting. Enjoy!

Love reading about food? You may also love these lists: 20 Best Food Culture and Food History Books20 Delicious Novels About Food

Comforting Food Memoirs

Tender at the Bone - Ruth Reichl

Tender at the Bone – Ruth Reichl

One of the most popular food memoirs: At an early age, Ruth Reichl discovered that “food could be a way of making sense of the world… If you watched people as they ate, you could find out who they were.” Her deliciously crafted memoir, Tender at the Bone, is the story of a life determined, enhanced, and defined in equal measure by a passion for food, unforgettable people, and the love of tales well told.  

Beginning with Reichl’s mother, the notorious food-poisoner known as the Queen of Mold, Reichl introduces us to the fascinating characters who shaped her world and her tastes, from the gourmand Monsieur du Croix, who served Reichl her first soufflé, to those at her politically correct table in Berkeley who championed the organic food revolution in the 1970s.  Spiced with Reichl’s infectious humor and sprinkled with her favorite recipes, Tender at the Bone is a witty and compelling chronicle of a culinary sensualist’s coming-of-age. A must-read among food memoirs.

The Gastronomical Me - M.F.K. Fisher

The Gastronomical Me – M.F.K. Fisher

A classic among food memoirs: In 1929 M.F.K. Fisher left America for France, where she tasted real French cooking for the first time. It inspired a prolific career as a food and travel writer. In The Gastronomical Me Fisher traces the development of her appetite, from her childhood in America to her arrival in Europe, where she embarked on a whole new way of eating, drinking, and living. She recounts unforgettable meals shared with an assortment of eccentric characters, set against a backdrop of mounting pre-war tensions.

Here are meals as seductions, educations, diplomacies, and communions, in settings as diverse as a bedsit above a patisserie, a Swiss farm, and cruise liners across oceans. In prose convivial and confiding, Fisher illustrates the art of ordering well, the pleasures of dining alone, and how to eat so you always find nourishment, in both head and heart. A gem among food memoirs.

My Life in France - Julia Child

My Life in France – Julia Child

When Julia Child arrived in Paris in 1948, a six foot-two-inch, thirty-six-year-old, rather loud and unserious Californian, she spoke barely a few words of French and did not know the first thing about cooking. As she fell in love with French culture, buying food at local markets, sampling bistros and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life began to change forever.

My Life in France follows her extraordinary transformation from kitchen ingénue to internationally renowned (and loved) expert in French cuisine. Bursting with adventurous and humorous spirit, Julia Child captures post-war Paris with wonderful vividness and charm. One of the most popular food memoirs.

Taste - Stanley Tucci

Taste – Stanley Tucci

A recent one among food memoirs. Before Stanley Tucci became a household name with The Devil Wears Prada, The Hunger Games, and the perfect Negroni, he grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the table. He shared the magic of those meals with us in The Tucci Cookbook and The Tucci Table, and now he takes us beyond the recipes and into the stories behind them.

Taste is a reflection on the intersection of food and life, filled with anecdotes about growing up in Westchester, New York, preparing for and filming the foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia, falling in love over dinner, and teaming up with his wife to create conversation-starting meals for their children. Each morsel of this gastronomic journey through good times and bad, five-star meals and burnt dishes, is as heartfelt and delicious as the last. A humourous one among food memoirs.

A Homemade Life - Molly Wizenberg

A Homemade Life – Molly Wizenberg

In A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg recounts a life with the kitchen at its center. From her mother’s pound cake, a staple of summer picnics during her childhood in Oklahoma, to the eggs she cooked for her father during the weeks before his death, food and memories are intimately entwined. You won’t be able to decide whether to curl up and sink into the story or to head straight to the market to fill your basket with ingredients for Cider-Glazed Salmon and Pistachio Cake with Honeyed Apricots. A cosy read among food memoirs.

Home Cooking - Laurie Colwin

Home Cooking – Laurie Colwin

Weaving together memories, recipes, and wild tales of years spent in the kitchen, Home Cooking is Laurie Colwin’s manifesto on the joys of sharing food and entertaining. From the humble hot-plate of her one-room apartment to the crowded kitchens of bustling parties, Colwin regales us with tales of meals gone both magnificently well and disastrously wrong.

Never before published in the UK, this is hilarious, personal and full of Colwin’s hard-won expertise. Home Cooking will speak to the heart (and stomach) of any amateur cook, professional chef, or food lover. A feast for body and soul among food memoirs.

Apricots on the Nile - Colette Rossant

Apricots on the Nile – Colette Rossant

One set in Egypt among food memoirs. In 1937, five-year-old Colette Rossant arrived in Cairo from Paris with her Egyptian Jewish father and beautiful French mother.

When her father dies Colette’s flighty mother abandons the little girl to her wealthy grandparents. She soon settles into their luxuriant, food centred lifestyle – spending afternoons in the spice filled kitchen; accompanying her grandmother to the bazaar; and feasting on the delicious Egyptian food.

At fifteen Colette is brought back to Paris with her mother, never to see her grandparents again, and only to return to Egypt thirty years later. In this charming, funny, and moving memoir, accompanied by mouth watering recipes, she evokes an Egypt lost, to her and to us, forever. A lovely read among food memoirs.

The Temporary Bride - Jennifer Klinec

The Temporary Bride – Jennifer Klinec

One set in Iran among food memoirs. In her thirties, Jennifer Klinec abandons a corporate job to launch a cooking school from her London flat. Raised in Canada to Hungarian-Croatian parents, she has already travelled to countries most people are fearful of, in search of ancient recipes. Her quest leads her to Iran where, hair discreetly covered and eyes modest, she is introduced to a local woman who will teach her the secrets of the Persian kitchen.

Vahid is suspicious of the strange foreigner who turns up in his mother’s kitchen; he is unused to seeing an independent woman. But a compelling attraction pulls them together and then pits them against harsh Iranian laws and customs.

Getting under the skin of one of the most complex and fascinating nations on earth, The Temporary Bride is a soaring story of being loved, being fed, and the struggle to belong. An interesting read among food memoirs.

Shark's Fin & Sichuan Pepper - Fuchsia Dunlop

Shark’s Fin & Sichuan Pepper – Fuchsia Dunlop

One set in China among food memoirs. Follow Fuchsia on her fascinating journey of discovery as she explores China and its culture through first-hand experiences of the country’s extraordinary culinary customs.

The award-winning cook and food writer vows to eat everything offered to her on arriving in China (however unusual!), covering an eclectic range of weird and wonderful dishes, from dog meat, civet cats, scorpions and rabbit heads, to the ovarian fat of the snow frog!

In this unforgettable food and travel memoir spanning the vibrant markets of Sichuan to the desert oases of Xinjiang, Fuchsia seeks to discover if it’s really possible for a Westerner to become a true convert to the Chinese cuisine… An exciting one among food memoirs.

Relish - Lucy Knisley

Relish – Lucy Knisley

A graphic novel among food memoirs. Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe – many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy’s original inventions.

A welcome read for anyone who ever felt more passion for a sandwich than is strictly speaking proper, Relish is a book for our time: it invites the reader to celebrate food as a connection to our bodies and a connection to the earth, rather than an enemy, a compulsion, or a consumer product. An exciting read among food memoirs.

Kitchen Yarns - Ann Hood

Kitchen Yarns – Ann Hood

A cosy read among food memoirs. From her Italian-American childhood, through raising and feeding a growing family and cooking with her new husband, food writer Michael Ruhlman, Ann Hood has long appreciated the power of good food. In Kitchen Yarns, pairing her signature humor and tenderness with simple, comforting recipes, Hood spins tales of loss and starting from scratch, family love and feasts with friends, and how the perfect meal is one that tastes like home.

Alone in the Kitchen With an Eggplant - Jenni Ferrari-Adler

Alone in the Kitchen With an Eggplant – Jenni Ferrari-Adler

One full of beautiful essays among food memoirs. Part solace, part celebration, part handbook, Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant offers a wealth of company, inspiration, and humor–and finally, solo recipes in these essays about food that require no division or subtraction, for readers of Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones & Butter and Tamar Adler’s The Everlasting Meal.

Featuring essays by:

Steve Almond, Jonathan Ames, Jami Attenberg, Laura Calder, Mary Cantwell, Dan Chaon, Laurie Colwin, Laura Dave, Courtney Eldridge, Nora Ephron, Erin Ergenbright, M. F. K. Fisher, Colin Harrison, Marcella Hazan, Amanda Hesser, Holly Hughes, Jeremy Jackson, Rosa Jurjevics, Ben Karlin, Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Beverly Lowry, Haruki Murakami, Phoebe Nobles, Ann Patchett, Anneli Rufus and Paula Wolfert.

Aphrodite - Isabel Allende

Aphrodite – Isabel Allende

This book of recipes, sensuous stories, aphrodisiacs and lovers’ spells is an irresistible fusion of Allende’s favourite things. Lavishly illustrated, this fascinating, personal guide to all things erotic encompasses a multicultural history of seduction through food, ancient and modern stories and poems about sex and eating, titillating recipes and advice. Chapter titles include: Cooking in the Nude; The Spell of Smell; Death by Perfume; Table Manners; With the Tip of the Tongue; The Orgy; Sins of the Flesh; Love Potions, and Sauces and Other Essential Fluids. A sensual one among food memoirs.

Language of Baklava - Diana Abu-Jaber

The Language of Baklava – Diana Abu-Jaber

Diana Abu-Jaber’s vibrant, humorous memoir weaves together delicious food memories that illuminate the two cultures of her childhood–American and Jordanian. Here are stories of being raised by a food-obsessed Jordanian father and tales of Lake Ontario shish kabob cookouts and goat stew feasts under Bedouin tents in the desert.

These sensuously evoked repasts, complete with recipes, paint a loving and complex portrait of Diana’s impractical, displaced immigrant father who, like many an immigrant before him, cooked to remember the place he came from and to pass that connection on to his children. The Language of Baklava irresistibly invites us to sit down at the table with Diana’s family, sharing unforgettable meals that turn out to be as much about “grace, difference, faith, love” as they are about food among food memoirs.

Untangling My Chopsticks - Victoria Abbott Riccardi

Untangling My Chopsticks – Victoria Abbott Riccardi

One set in Japan among food memoirs.

During her year in Kyoto, Victoria explored the mysterious and rarefied world of tea kaiseki, living a life inaccessible to most foreigners. She also discovered the beguiling realm of modern-day Japanese food—the restaurants, specialty shops, and supermarkets. She participated in many fast-disappearing culinary customs, including making mochi (chewy rice cakes) by hand, a beloved family ritual barely surviving in a mechanized age. She celebrated the annual cleansing rites of New Year’s, donning an elaborate kimono and obi for a thirty-four-course extravaganza. She includes twenty-five recipes for favorite dishes she encountered, such as Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl, Japanese Beef and Vegetable Hotpot, and Green-Tea Cooked Salmon Over Rice.

Untangling My Chopsticks is a sumptuous journey into the tastes, traditions, and exotic undercurrents of Japan. It is also a coming-of-age tale steeped in history and ancient customs, a thoughtful meditation on life, love, and learning in another land. An exciting one among food memoirs.

A Tiger in the Kitchen - Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

A Tiger in the Kitchen – Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

After growing up in the most food-obsessed city in the world, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan left home and family at eighteen for America–proof of the rebelliousness of daughters born in the Year of the Tiger. But as a thirtysomething fashion writer in New York, she felt the Singaporean dishes that defined her childhood beginning to call her back. Was it too late to learn the secrets of her grandmothers’ and aunties’ kitchens, as well as the tumultuous family history that had kept them hidden before In her quest to recreate the dishes of her native Singapore by cooking with her family, Tan learned not only cherished recipes but long-buried stories of past generations. 

A Tiger in the Kitchen, which includes ten authentic recipes for Singaporean classics such as pineapple tarts and Teochew braised duck, is the autobiography of a Chinese-Singaporean ex-pat who learns to infuse her New York lifestyle with the rich lessons of the Singaporean kitchen, ultimately reconnecting with her family and herself. For the lovers of Asian cuisine among food memoirs.

Pig in Provence - Georgeanne Brennan

Pig in Provence – Georgeanne Brennan

 Thirty years ago, James Beard Award-winning author Georgeanne Brennan set out to realize the dream of a peaceful, rural existence en Provence. She and her husband, with their young daughter in tow, bought a small farmhouse with a little land, and a few goats and pigs and so began a life-affirming journey. Filled with delicious recipes and local color, this evocative and passionate memoir describes her life cooking and living in the Provenal tradition. An entrancing tale that will whet the appetite and the spirit. Perfect for foodies, Francophiles, or anyone who’s dreamed of packing their bags and buying a ticket to the good life. For the lovers of French cuisine among food memoirs.

Born Round - Frank Bruni

Born Round – Frank Bruni

Frank Bruni was born round. Round as in stout, chubby, and always hungry. His relationship with eating was difficult and his struggle with it began early. When named the restaurant critic for The New York Times in 2004, he knew he would be performing one of the most watched tasks in the epicurean universe. And with food his friend and enemy both, his jitters focused primarily on whether he’d finally made some sense of that relationship. A captivating story of his unpredictable journalistic odyssey as well as his lifelong love-hate affair with food, Born Round will speak to everyone who’s ever had to rein in an appetite to avoid letting out a waistband. A wonderful one among food memoirs.

Risotto With Nettles - Anna Del Conte

Risotto With Nettles – Anna Del Conte

Born in Milan, Anna del Conte grew up in Italy in a gentler time. When war came to Italy everything changed: her family had to abandon their apartment and the city for the countryside, where the peasants still ate well, but life was dangerous… As a teenager, Anna became used to throwing herself into a ditch as the strafing planes flew over, and was imprisoned, twice. Her story is informed and enlivened by the food and memories of her native land – from lemon granita to wartime risotto with nettles, from vitello tonnato to horsemeat roll, from pastas to porcini.

Anna arrived in England in 1949 to a culinary wasteland. She married an Englishman and stayed on, and while bringing up her children, she wrote books which inspired a new generation of cooks. This is a memoir of a life seen through food – each chapter rounded off with mouthwatering recipes. For the fans of Italian cuisine among food memoirs.

A Half Baked Idea - Olivia Potts

A Half Baked Idea – Olivia Potts

Olivia Potts’ mother died when she just twenty-five. Stricken with grief, she did something life changing and rather ridiculous: she gave up a high-flying legal career to study at the notoriously difficult Le Cordon Bleu, despite not being able to cook. No one ever told Olivia you couldn’t bake your way to happiness – but could you? An interesting one among food memoirs.

Check out my other lists about books!

  1. 10 Uplifting Books
  2. Great Novels by Poets
  3. Feel-Good Cozy Mystery Series
  4. Autumn Books – 20 Cozy Novels
  5. Winter Books- 20 Atmospheric Novels
  6. Spring Books – 20 Lovely Novels
  7. 20 Captivating Gothic Books
  8. Japanese Books Under 200 Pages
  9. 20 Best Campus and Academic Novels
  10. 25 Intriguing Dark Academia Books
  11. 20 Literary Romance Novels
  12. 20 Best Food Culture and Food History Books
  13. Comforting Food Memoirs
  14. Top 5 Haiku Books
  15. 15 Best Eco-fiction Novels
  16. Perfect Christmas Books
  17. 20 Best Turkish Books
  18. Standalone Fantasy Books
  1. Books Set in Museums
  2. Books Set in Hotels
  3. Books Set on Islands
  4. Novels Set in Ancient Egypt
  5. Novels Set in Bookshops
  6. Novels Set in Libraries
  7. Books Set in the English Countryside
  8. Books Set in Edinburgh
  9. Books Set in Oxford
  10. Books Set in Istanbul
  11. Books Set in Portugal
  12. Books Set in Forests
  1. Novels Under 100 Pages
  2. Novels Under 150 Pages
  3. Novels Under 200 Pages
  4. Novels About Books
  5. Best Books About Books
  6. Novels About Vincent Van Gogh
  7. Novels About Leonardo da Vinci
  8. Novels About Marriage
  9. Novels About Food
  10. Novels About Writers
  11. Books About Witches
  12. Novels About Ernest Hemingway
  13. Best Books About Birds
  14. Best Books About Walking
  15. Best Books About Tea
  16. Novels About Scents & Perfume

Check out my other lists about books!

  1. 10 Uplifting Books
  2. Great Novels by Poets
  3. Feel-Good Cozy Mystery Series
  4. Autumn Books – 20 Cozy Novels
  5. Winter Books- 20 Atmospheric Novels
  6. Spring Books – 20 Lovely Novels
  7. 20 Captivating Gothic Books
  8. Japanese Books Under 200 Pages
  9. 20 Best Campus and Academic Novels
  10. 25 Intriguing Dark Academia Books
  11. 20 Literary Romance Novels
  12. 20 Best Food Culture and Food History Books
  13. Comforting Food Memoirs
  14. Top 5 Haiku Books
  15. 15 Best Eco-fiction Novels
  16. Perfect Christmas Books
  17. 20 Best Turkish Books
  18. Standalone Fantasy Books
  1. Books Set in Museums
  2. Books Set in Hotels
  3. Books Set on Islands
  4. Novels Set in Ancient Egypt
  5. Novels Set in Bookshops
  6. Novels Set in Libraries
  7. Books Set in the English Countryside
  8. Books Set in Edinburgh
  9. Books Set in Oxford
  10. Books Set in Istanbul
  11. Books Set in Portugal
  12. Books Set in Forests
  1. Novels Under 100 Pages
  2. Novels Under 150 Pages
  3. Novels Under 200 Pages
  4. Novels About Books
  5. Best Books About Books
  6. Novels About Vincent Van Gogh
  7. Novels About Leonardo da Vinci
  8. Novels About Marriage
  9. Novels About Food
  10. Novels About Writers
  11. Books About Witches
  12. Novels About Ernest Hemingway
  13. Best Books About Birds
  14. Best Books About Walking
  15. Best Books About Tea
  16. Novels About Scents & Perfume

Is there any other food memoirs that should be on this list? Please share your favourite books with us in the comments section below.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.