As entertaining as it is informative, Life Is Meals: A Food Lover's Book of Days is beautifully illustrated and full of much more than recipes or food lore (although it includes both). Written by PEN/Faulkner Award-winner James Salter and his playwright wife Kay Salter, the book has a short entry for each day of the year and is packed with fascinating tidbits.

The charm of Life Is Meals is the Salters' quirky selection and arrangement of facts. Although some entries offer a historical food fact (the menu on the Titanic on the night it went down), others are random observations (what makes a good waiter) or tips on throwing a dinner party, which fruits go with which cheeses (June 27) or the evolution of the fork (January 13). Difficult to put down, this is a book to keep by the bedside and give to every foodie on your list.

Lisa Waddle is a pastry baker and food writer in Nashville.

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