Culinary narratives take many forms: blood-and-offal tell-alls à la Anthony Bourdain or the gastronomic reveries of M.F.K. Fisher, to name just two. Here, we look at a dozen such books from the forthcoming spring and summer menu.
Burn the Ice
Kevin Alexander. Penguin Press, July
A James Beard Award–winning journalist tracks what he calls a golden age in American dining—when hipster enclaves such as Portland, Ore., and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, edged out the traditional culinary mainstays in Manhattan and San Francisco—from its origin in the mid-2000s to its end about a decade later.
Burn the Place
Iliana Regan. Midway, July
Beginning with her childhood in Indiana, Regan, chef-owner of Chicago restaurants Elizabeth and Kitsune, traces her path to a Michelin star while also delving into issues of sexuality, gender identity, and addiction. “Foodies will appreciate this blistering yet tender story of a woman transforming Midwestern cooking,” our review said, written “in a fresh voice all her own.”
Eat Like a Fish
Bren Smith. Knopf, May
Smith, who left commercial fishing for a career in restorative ocean farming, is on a mission to get seaweed,which he considers a sustainable superfood, onto more restaurant menus and into home kitchens.
Girl on the Block
Jessica Wragg. Dey Street, Aug.
Wragg began training as a butcher in her hometown of Chesterfield, England, at age 16 and a few years later landed a job at the Ginger Pig in London. She details her rise in the male-dominated world of butchery while providing a historical and contemporary look at the craft.
Matt and Ted Lee. Holt, Apr.
The latest title from the authors of the James Beard Award–winning The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook “pulls back the curtain on the catering world, an often-dismissed arm of the culinary industry denounced for its ‘rubber chicken and dry salmon,’ in this captivating tell-all,” PW’s review said. (The Lees are profiled in “Too Many Cooks.”)
Jeff Gordinier. Crown/Duggan, July
In this memoir-meets-travelogue, Esquire’s food and drinks editor chronicles four years of globe-trotting adventures with renowned Danish chef René Redzepi seeking out the finest tacos in the Yucután, chasing sea urchins in the Arctic Circle, and more.
Notes from a Young Black Chef
Kwame Onwuachi, with Joshua David Stein. Knopf, Apr.
Top Chef alum Onwuachi, executive chef at Washington, D.C.’s Kith and Kin, recounts personal and professional struggles and triumphs in what our starred review called an “inspiring memoir.” The author includes one representative recipe with each chapter—egusi stew, shrimp etouffee, and chicken and waffles, among others. (See our q&a with Onwuachi.)
Save Me the Plums
Ruth Reichl. Random House, Apr.
In her latest, multiple James Beard Award winner Reichl, whose books include Tender at the Bone and, most recently, My Kitchen Year, zeroes in on her decade as editor-in-chief at Gourmet. PW’s starred review called Plums “a deeply personal look at a food world on the brink of change.”
Ed Levine. Portfolio, June
In 2006, New York City freelance food journalist and digital novice Levine ponied up $100 for the domain name Serious Eats, a food website that would, by 2017, see more than 10 million visitors per month and make its founder a wealthy man. The road to foodie glory wasn’t always smooth, and here, Levine details his unlikely rise in the world of online media.
Tiny Hot Dogs
Mary Giuliani. Running Press, Apr.
New York City caterer Giuliani (The Cocktail Party), whose frequent TV appearances include spots on Rachael Ray, The Chew, and Today, discusses her culinary success alongside tales of motherhood, loss, and celebrity encounters. “Giuliani’s entertaining memoir,” our review said, “is packed with satisfying stories and recipes that readers will guiltily enjoy.”
The Truffle Underground
Ryan Jacobs. Clarkson Potter, June
This exposé, which has its roots in a 2014 piece Jacobs wrote for the Atlantic, is a “deeply researched and eye-opening account,” our review said, “of the lengths people will go for wealth, gratification, and a taste of the prized fungus.”
Andy Brennan. Chelsea Green, June
Brennan, who owns Aaron Burr Cidery in New York’s Catskills region, addresses apple growing and food activism, advocating for wild, organic processes over modern cultivation practices. Rowan Jacobsen, who has written extensively on the sustainable food movement, contributes the foreword.