Librarian’s Choice: Fiction for foodies

This blog post comes from Maddie, a Community Librarian based in the east of Leeds.

I enjoy baking and love books which have food at the heart of them. I particularly like the idea of books which recipes in them.

Maddie Cupcake CafeMeet Me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan

When Issy Randall loses her boss/boyfriend and her job she decides to make a new start and open a cafe. With recipes handed down to her by her Grandpa Joe she turns her life around. This is an easy reading chick-lit romance and in true chick lit style Issy eventually manages to find Mr. Right. If you’re a fan of Sophie Kinsella then this is one you might like to try.

Maddie Shape of waterThe Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

My next choice is completely different, as this is a crime book. This is the first in a series of books about the Sicilian inspector Montalbano. The books are set in Vigata, a quiet little town where not very much happens apart from bizarre murders and lots of them. Inspector Montalbano is passionate about food and always eats his meals in silence appreciating what he is eating. There are lots of descriptions in the book about food that he is ordering in restaurants and has inspired me to look up recipes of the food described.

Maddie chocolatChocolat by Joanne Harris

This seems an obvious choice to include in this selection. I read this book many years ago before the film was made of it. The book is about a young single mum – Vianne Rocher who arrives in a quiet French village with her young daughter and opens up a chocolate shop much to the discontent to the parish priest and divides the whole community. It is probably the only book where the description of the cooking has been so vivid that you can almost smell the chocolate being made.

Maddie Like water for chocolateLike Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

The protagonist of this story is 15 year old Tita who falls in love with her neighbor Pedro. They want to marry, but her mother forbids it because of a family tradition where the youngest daughter is not allowed to marry as she is expected to look after her parents as they age. The book is set out in monthly chapters and at the beginning of each one there is a Mexican recipe.


Maddie Baking Cakes in the KigaliBaking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin

Meet Angel Tangaranza a professional cake maker, matchmaker and a shoulder to cry on. This book reminded me very much of Alexander McCall Smith’s book The Lady’s no. 1 Detective Agency. The book is set in Rwanda. The people who order cakes from Angel for special occasions relate their problems to her and she does her best to help. I liked the way that the food is the connecting factor. I’m not in Angel’s league when it comes to baking cakes, but I am tempted to try one although it might have to be a simplified version.

Is Jamie going frugal?

9780718158149Looking forward to these new cook books which we’ve got ordered.

Jamie Oliver’s new cookery book is ‘Save with Jamie’ We like the look of this one  as we’re all for being a cheapskate!

”Save with Jamie’ draws on knowledge and cooking skills to help you make better choices, showing you how to buy economically and efficiently, get the most out of your ingredients, save time and prevent food waste.’

Then there’s the healthy sounding ‘River Cottage fruit everyday’ by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. With 180 delicious recipes, it shows you how to enjoy a broader eating experience and make fruit easy, fun and irresistible. Recipes for seasonal fruit that grows in this country, and how to make the most of fruit from other parts of the world:  marinated lamb and fig kebabs; barbecued pork chops with peaches and sage; venison stew with damsons; and parsnip and apple cakes;  fresh and zingy salads as well as gorgeous cakes, tarts, pies, crumbles and puddings.

And this one will be our favourite: Michel Roux Jnr ‘The French Kitchen’. It’s got 200 recipes so if you feel inspired by watching Masterchef, this is the one for you


‘With its delicious dishes and exquisite ingredients as diverse as the regions from which they come, heritage cooking and family values from provincial France have stood the test of time. In this book Michel Roux Jr explores the heritage of his native French cuisine: from the rustic to the haute.’

Still looking for some recipe inspiration, here’s our 2013 cook books to browse through with everything from curries to meatless, superfoods, Mary Berry, Levi Roots and more !

Food Writers Awards

image-mediumThe Guild of Food Writers Awards shortlists are out.

Cookery Book of the Year Award

Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes by Ariana Bundy (Simon & Schuster)
Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop (Bloomsbury)

Salt Sugar Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat and Fish by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley)

Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ebury Press)

Food Book of the Year Award

What to Eat? 10 Chewy Questions About Food by Hattie Ellis (Portobello Books)


What to Eat: Food that’s good for your health, pocket and plate by Joanna Blythman (4th Estate)
Consider the Fork: A History of Invention in the Kitchen  by Bee Wilson (Particular Books)

Jeremy Round Award for Best First Book

The British Larder: A Cookbook For All Seasons by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel (Absolute Press)
The Art of the Restaurateur  by Nicholas Lander (Phaidon)

The Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Catherine Phipps (Ebury Press)

Kate Whiteman Award for Work on Food and Travel

Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking  by Fuchsia Dunlop (Bloomsbury Publishing)
“Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure presented by Ken Hom and Ching-He Huang” (Keo Films for BBC Two)
Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Ebury Press)