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Food Books: Guides For Guys Who Do More Than Grill

  • Written by  Garret Snyder
  • Video

We love Julia Child and Betty Crocker as much as the next chef, but when it comes to capturing how men cook and eat, their works tend to be missing a certain something. If you’re looking for a man’s guide to the food world, from the swashbuckling lifestyles of hardcore chefs to the scientific breakdown of a properly made biscuit, we’ve selected five of our favorite books to satiate your appetite.

Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin

by Kenny Shopsin

Equal parts cookbook, memoir and manifesto, Eat Me is based on the recipes of Kenny Shopsin, the curmudgeonly restaurateur behind Shopsin’s diner in New York City’s Greenwich Village. His years as a yuppie-hating, loud-mouthed short-order cook mean Shopsin’s offbeat recipes are filled with his trademark “the customer is always wrong” panache. Love or hate him, his recipe for chicken tortilla soup still manages to convert the toughest critics.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

by Anthony Bourdain

When this bestseller hit shelves in 2000, it became known for its gritty portrayal of the less glamorous aspects of the restaurant industry (sex, drugs and ratatouille). More importantly, it gave insight into what inspires cooks and chefs to put up with 12-hour days, mediocre pay and back-breaking labor in pursuit of culinary perfection. Bourdain even managed to sneak in a few kitchen tips on everything from knife sharpening to using a frying pan as a bludgeon.

Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany

by Bill Buford

If the food world had its own version of The Odyssey, it would probably be Heat. In the book, former New Yorker editor Bill Buford subjects himself to being chef Mario Batali’s kitchen slave and apprentices with one of Italy’s most eccentric butchers as part of a bizarre journey through the cutthroat world of high cuisine. It’s the kind of book that makes you want to embark on an impromptu foreign adventure and maybe snag a few rolls of salumi while you’re at it.

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

by Michael Pollan

In this book’s introduction, Michael Pollan neatly sums up his ideas on optimal eating habits in seven words: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” The next three sections examine each part of the rule in rigorous detail, from anthropological anecdotes to nutritional politics, yet each is as refreshingly blunt as the opening sentence. Don’t confuse this with a fad-diet paperback, though. Eater’s Manifesto is a witty rebuttal to mainstream U.S. food culture, one that will have you rethinking how you refuel.

Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking

by Michael Ruhlman

Men aren’t always keen to follow exact recipes. Michael Ruhlman, the cook who also penned an exhaustive book on homemade smoked and cured meats (Charcuterie), understands this better than anyone. Ratio delves into the logic behind recipes, explaining mysteries such as why two cups of milk and a half-cup of flour equate to the perfect gravy. For the home cook not content to merely tick away tablespoons, it’s the best way to conquer the ingredient list and unleash kitchen creativity.

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Food expert and author Anthony Bourdain goes on the hunt for the perfect bowl of pho.
Last modified on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 13:34

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