Today's edition of BookPageXTRA is all about baking. With Thanksgiving a few weeks away and Christmas around the corner, it's time to start thinking about holiday menus, tasty gifts, potluck contributions . . . Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt recommends seven baking books and we're also giving away four cookbooks on the blog.
However, we recognize that every reader is not also a baker, and some of you just want good fiction that will make your stomach rumble . . . no oven required.
5 foodie novels we love:
Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray
A full-time mother and homemaker's life turns upside down when her husband loses his job and her elderly parents move in. She attempts to keep her family afloat by selling her incredible cakes to local restaurants. BookPage wrote in 2003: Eat Cake is as "sweetly satisfying as meringue."
Friendship Bread by Darien Gee
In Darien Gee's debut, a woman copes with a tragedy by passing along the simple gift of Amish Friendship Bread. In a behind-the-book essay for BookPage in April, Gee told us that the story was inspired by her real-life experience. "Amish Friendship Bread is about sharing what you have with others and expressing gratitude for the good things in your life."
The Book of Salt by Monique Truong
The Book of Salt is the story of a gay Vietnamese man named Binh who works as a personal cook for Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas; Monique Truong evokes the disparate world of the American ladies and a man on the fringes. In 2004, BookPage wrote that Truong's novel belongs "in the company of such books as Joanne Harris' Chocolat."
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
Erica Bauermeister's The School of Essential Ingredients brings together eight people in a monthly cooking class. The cooking instruction spills over into their inner lives, nudging each student to explore and, of course, cook. Along the way, we see how the cooking instructor, Lillian, transforms basic ingredients into works of art. In 2009, BookPage called this novel "delicious."
White Truffles in Winter by N.M. Kelby
White Truffles in Winter is BookPage's Top Pick in Fiction for November 2011! This lush, romantic story is a history of the real-life chef Auguste Escoffier. As reviewer W.S. Lyon writes in BookPage this month, "Much of the book is spent reveling in the alchemy of flavor for which Escoffier was so known—the essences, the combinations, the transformational power of food as nourishment for body and soul."
What is your favorite fiction for foodies? Let us know in the comments!
Fans of nonfiction: Check out our post on fabulous memoirs for foodies.