Whether you're looking for a food-filled work of fiction or a more studious poolside read, there's something for everyone on Chow Bella's summer reading list. We've included several new and upcoming releases, as well as a few award-winning picks that came out late last year.
The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food Dan Barber Penguin Press
Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill restaurant in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 2009 and will release his first book on Tuesday, May 20. The Third Plate describes Barber's vision for the future of American dining, moving beyond farm-to-table to "the third plate." The next step in the future of dining, according to Barber, will be to support long-term sustainability by embracing an integrated system of production.
Delicious! Ruth Reichl Random House
Delicious!, which hit shelves earlier this month, is the first work of fiction from Ruth Reichl, former editor in chief of Gourmet Magazine and restaurant critic of the the New York Times. The novel tells the story of Billie Breslin, who takes a job at an iconic food magazine only to have it shut down not long after she starts. When she discovers a cache of letters written by James Beard, her real journey begins.
The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World's First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore Robert Simonson Ten Speed
Whether you're a whiskey drinker or not, it's impossible to deny that the Old-Fashioned is one of the most iconic cocktails around. The ingredients are simple -- whiskey, bitters, sugar, and ice -- but how best to combine them is a topic of heated discussion. In The Old-Fashioned, cocktail writer Robert Simonson takes an in-depth look at the drink and offers more than 40 cocktail recipes, including classic variations, regional twists, and contemporary updates from top bartenders around the country.
Chop Chop: A Novel Simon Wroe Penguin Press
Released earlier this spring, this dark comedy tells the story of a literary type who ends up having to take a kitchen job at The Swan, a gastro-pub in London. He's plunged into a world of crazy characters, including head chef Bob, a tyrannic leader with a penchant for cruelty.
Historic Heston Heston Blumenthal Bloomsbury Publishing
Even if you can't travel abroad this summer, you can get a taste of cuisine from across the pond through Historic Heston, the two-volume tomb from chef Heston Blumenthal. In it, Blumenthal explores British cooking through recipes from medieval to late-Victorian times. By breaking down and re-creating historic dishes, he gives insights into how he crafts his cutting-edge cuisine. The book recently was named Best Cookbook of the Year by the James Beard Award Foundation.
Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature's Most Memorable Meals Dinah Fried HarperCollins
For some literary eye candy this summer, designer Dinah Field offers Fictitious Dishes, a collection of photographic interpretations of meals from contemporary and classic literature. The book includes meals from Moby Dick, The Secret Garden, and more -- even the tea party from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
René Redzepi: A Work in Progress René Redzepi Phaidon Press
You can eat a chef's food, but how about a look inside the mind by reading his own words? That is exactly what Noma's Rene Redzepi serves up in René Redzepi: A Work in Progress. The three-book set includes a yearlong journal about the ins-and-outs of life at Noma. The other two parts include a recipe book and a flick book of 200 candid, behind the scenes photos from the restaurant and Redzepi's personal adventures.