These delicious food-driven memoirs from entertaining authors including Stanley Tucci make the miles fly. Here are a few titles that are a feast for your ears.
Stanley Tucci is probably best known as an actor and sometimes director, but that changed with the debut of his documentary series, Searching for Italy. Thanks for taking us along on those mouthwatering trips.
That goes double for Taste, which is read by the author in such an engaging way, listeners might feel as if they’re pulling up a chair at the Tucci family dinner table. The description of meals — sometimes including instructions on how to make the dishes in your kitchen — are far from the typical made-for-primetime show-off style. The dialogue might include a lengthy negotiation with one of Tucci’s kiddos about what they want to eat, complete with whiny little voices. It’s real and it’s lovely.
Listeners might be shocked to learn about Tucci’s battle with cancer and lengthy struggle to regain a sense of taste during recovery. It’s almost unthinkable for anyone who cares so deeply about food and cooking and gathering at the table to endure months on a feeding tube. But Tucci survived and that makes his stories of him even sweeter.
So, do you think you know all about Julia Child? This excellent biography written by her de ella nephew de ella, Alex Prud’homme might convince you otherwise. It tells the fascinating story of the iconic French Chef’s path to superstardom and that road was often quite rocky.
For starters, she had the Herculean task of dealing with challenging co-authors of the book that would eventually open doors. Mastering the Art of French Cooking took nine years and countless negotiations to complete. When Ella’s Child and her husband, Paul — who Stanley Tucci portrayed in Julie and Julia, BTW — returned to the United States in the early 19060s after living in France, they settled in Cambridge, Mass., And we all know what happened next .
This lively recounting of those years offers a sort of startling look at how far we’ve come from an era where meals that focused on packaged and processed foods were the norm. Or have we?
MFK Fisher might not have the same name recognition as Julia Child, but these women were definitely cut from the same chintz. Both were adventurous eaters who explored the tiny inns and cafes and wine bars of France, eventually sharing their experiences with grateful readers.
This collection of essays was first published in 1983, many moons after the author had made herself comfortably at home in France. Traveling alone was Fisher’s strong suit for her and she lets us tag along to Provence in the off season, where she searches for a welcoming restaurant and finds more than one cold shoulder. Locals are looking for a refresh in the down time and the gracious welcomes just aren’t there. Again, it’s an unvarnished, sometimes melancholy look at life on the road. But there are plenty of glorious meals recounted in other chapters.
Yup, this one’s a wild card. I checked this excellent distillation of that famous journey of discovery out because I’m going to be volunteering this summer at a Lewis and Clark interpretive center at Cape Disappointment State Park in southwestern Washington state.
What floored me about this narrative brilliantly woven by Landon Y. Jones was just how much time and effort was expended on that trip to keep the party fed. We’re talking about the original moveable feast, where the ever-changing menu included beaver, antelope, grizzly bear and dog. And it is! And yikes, but it’s true that canines were a staple on the menu way back in the day.
At least one of the cooks on the very long trip — the explorers were given up for goners before they surprised everyone and turned up to report their findings — was gifted in the art of sausage making and one of the journal entries detailing the process sounds like poetry.
Among the many audiobooks I’ve enjoyed, I get the biggest kick out of hearing celebrities tell their life stories. There’s almost always food memories involved. Because, you know, we’ve all gotta eat. Some of my absolute favorites in the celeb memoir category: