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Culinary Non-Fiction

Updated: January 11, 2020

These are factual books about the delights of food, eating and places to eat; others are cookbooks which provide historical and cultural backgrounds plus recipes.

Ziegelman, Jane.
Call Number: 641.097472 Z66

Ziegelman explores the culinary traditions of the German, Irish, Italian, and Eastern European Jewish families who lived in one Lower East Side tenement between 1863 and 1935.

Kingsolver, Barbara.
Call Number: 641.09754 K55
Kingsolver and her family take a year to live solely on food they grow themselves or find locally produced. This book follows their experience and speaks strongly to the slow food and locavore philosophies.

Ha, Robin,
Call Number: 641.59519 H111

This wonderful graphic cookbook teaches Korean cooking with approachable directions and cute panels about cultural facets of the cuisine. Stand-out recipes include a description of hand-pulled noodles, and include common home cooking shortcuts like store-bought broth. Great for the culinarily curious and the adventurous home cook.

Gold, Jonathan.
Call Number: 979.41T L881Gol 2000

First Pulitzer Prize winner for food and restaurant criticism, LA Weekly's Jonathan Gold, has collected over 200 of his best LA eatery discoveries.

Jordan, Jennifer A., 1970-
Call Number: 635 J823

Over the past few years heirloom vegetables have been the rage, but why? Sociologist Jennifer Jordan analyzes the big picture about this growing interest. One aspect is flavor, and another is nostagia for the memory of vegetables and fruits that really, truly had some unique fragrance and flavor.

Call Number: 641.092 L673Ed

A collection of essays that pay tribute to cookbook writer, master chef and outspoken activist.  She brought proper attention to good Southern cooking.

Federman, Adam, 1979-
Call Number: 641.092 G781Fe

Adam Federman presents the life of Patience Gray, an important figure in modern food writing. Independent, iconoclastic, a type of earth mother who eschewed modern consumerism, she and her partner, the sculptor Norman Mommens, led a  rugged life on the island of Naxos. LAPL owns these books by Gray:  Honey from a weed : fasting and feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, the Cyclades, and Apulia; A Catalan cookery book : a collection of impossible recipes; Plats du jour

Trillin, Calvin.
Call Number: 641.5973 T829

Trillin's hungry quest (See The Tummy Trilogy below.)continues for the next best nosh or complete meal. Alice his loving wife is gone, About Alice, and his two daughters are living in California, a veritable wasteland of self-conscious healthy eating.

Bastianich, Lidia,
Call Number: 641.5945 B326-11

Lidia Bastianich shares 115 recipes from her flagship restaurant, Felidia, established in Manhattan in 1981. The full-page color photographs of completed dishes will make you want to try the recipes, or catch the next flight to New York.

Kauffman, Jonathan,
Call Number: 641.0973 K213

The foods many of us eat today, from tofu to curry, didn’t just happen. They arose and were accepted in a particular culture and time; influenced by political movements, travel, experimentation, and a whole shelf of cookbooks that shaped the dining choices of a generation.    


Pollan, Michael.
Call Number: 641 P771-1
This exploration of modern food production provides you with a picture of all that is wrong with it and some suggestions about what you might do to make things rosier for yourself. As Pollan says, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

David, Elizabeth, 1913-1992.
Call Number: 641.01 D249-2

Through her writing Elizabeth David changed attitudes about food and cooking in England. This is a compilation of her best articles with some recipes. Pages 167-168, "Untraditional Christmas Food" presents a luxurious alternative to any home cook who feels overwhelmed by holiday pressure.

Choi, Roy,
Call Number: 641.595 C545

Angeleno and rising star in the L.A. culinary landscape, Roy Choi chronicles--with charisma and sincerity--the story of his life and the Los Angeles food scene. From Korean taco inventor with his Kogi truck, to Chego to community-based inititiatives in the inner city, Choi is much more than a celebrity chef. Includes 85 recipes.

Dunlop, Fuchsia,
Call Number: 641.5951 D922-4

It is not necessary to cook to delight in this spectacularly beautiful and informative cookbook from the knowledgable Fuchsia Dunlop, English writer and Chinese food expert. She explores the culture and food traditions of the Jiangnan region. "Jiangnan spans the eastern coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu, the city of Shanghai and that part of southern Anhui province known as Huizhou," and is known "as the land of fish and rice." Dunlop's thorough presentation of this region's food will be of particular interest to those who love Chinese cuisine.


Bayless, Rick,
Call Number: 641.5972 B358-5

This is the most recent book on Mexican food, cuisine and culture from Rick Bayless, who owns several Mexcian restaurants in Chicago, and is the recipient of Mexico's Order of the Aztec Eagle, the higest honor awarded to foreigners.  Bayliss covers eveything from appetizers to desserts; includes different types of equipment; essential ingredients to have on hand; and "Four Secret Weapons I Always Have in My Refrigerator" and how all of us can make them.  Right now, his recipe for Chicken Barbacoa, p. 324, is on my must-make-it-soon list.

Bastianich, Lidia,
Call Number: 641.092 B326

Lidia Bastianich is a successful restaurateur, televsion host of numerous cooking programs on PBS, and cookbook author. In this heartfelt autobiography and memoir, she recounts her family's history in post-World War II Pula, Istria, then part of Italy, and how they eventually came to America. Filled with joy and hope, Basitanich's life is the embodiment of what it means to be an immigrant and find a new life in the United States.

Dunea, Melanie.
Call Number: 641.5 D915 folio

What fun when fifty of today's best-of-the-best chefs were asked: what woud you eat at your last supper; who would prepare and serve it; what kind of drink; where would it be; would there be music; who else would be there? The answers are simple to complex with the chefs photographed in garb ranging from absolutely nothing to splendidly elegant. There is a selection of recipes.

Baxter, John, 1939-
Call Number: 641.0944 B355

John Baxter is a transplanted Australian who has lived in France for many years and loves the country and the food.  He began to notice that many staple foods of French cuisine were disappearing so he set out across the country interviewing and questioning chefs and cooks. Of course he eats and writes about the food, the cultural history behind ingredients and methods of preparation.  It is almost as wonderful as being there.

Romero, Terry Hope,
Call Number: 641.63 R763-2 2016

Two of the most enduring and pernicious myths about plant-based diets are that (1) the food is bland and (2) they don’t provide enough protein. This cookbook should put those misconceptions to rest once and for all. With mouth-watering full-color photos and easy-to-follow recipes, even the most die-hard meat-eater will want a seat at this dinner table. 

Goulding, Matt.
Call Number: 641.0952 G698

In Japan, art and food meld into one, from the small local eatery to the more revered restaurants. Matt Goulding editor at the online journal Roads & Kingdoms, savors and appreciates the works of "shokunins" or artisans who take pride in the preparation and presentation of food. Goulding conveys such delight in what he experiences that readers will be salivating and dreaming of taking a foodie trip to Japan.

Sax, David.
Call Number: 647.9509 S272

A mouth-watering critique and history of Jewish delicatessens, and the foods and families who made them. Many establishments have lost their original ethnic vitality and tasty cuisine, however three cheers for Los Angeles which Sax deems to be, ". . .America's premier deli city."

Admony, Einat,
Call Number: 641.59569 A238

Shuk is a market place, and an Israeli market has fresh food products and spices that represent Persia, Yemen, Libya, Palestine, various Balkan countries and parts of North Africa. These ingredients contribute to marvelous recipes that shake up the palate and taste buds in an unexpected way. Part of the narrative description for each recipe includes information about the country or culture of origin. Full-page color photographs make you want to start cooking now.

Massaad, Barbara Abdeni, compiler, photographer.
Call Number: 641.71 M414

To bring money and attention to the crisis in Syria, photographer Barbara Abdeni Massaad asked world food writers, chefs and others to contribute a favorite soup recipe to a cookbook. Working with Interlink Press, the profits of the cookbook project “ . . .  will be donated to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR to provide urgently needed food relief for Syrian refugees.”


Brock, Sean,
Call Number: 641.5975 B864-1

Sean Brock is an advocate for Southern cuisine: cooking methods, food, ingredients and a champion for restoring heritage produce and livestock. According to Brock the cuisine and traditions "are part of American history" and provide food that "is good for our bodies and good for our souls."  This is a large-sized book (8"x 11"), with terrific full-page color photographs, and a two-page, double-column resource list in the back

Trillin, Calvin.
Call Number: 641.01 T829-3

This is a trilogy of books: American Fried, Alice, Let's Eat, and Third Helpings. Trillin, social and political critic, and a man with a bottomless stomach, who is never too full for one more meal, writes about local foods and restaurants with wit and seriousness.

Nicoletti, Cara,
Call Number: 641.5 N643

Cara Nicoletti loves food and its preparation, and she loves to read all kinds of books.  As a butcher, pastry chef and omnivorous food blogger, she combines two passions in this homage to food and literatue, which has recipes plus vibrant illustrations by Marion Bolognesi.

Zinczenko, David,
Call Number: 613.2 Z77-15

Peanut butter sandwich; Dark chocolate banana nut; Blueberry dazzler; Turmerican dream all are simple smoothie recipes, and there are over 100 more in this book. This is a simple introduction to smoothies and the health benefits they offer, using easy recipes and ingredients; an extensive section on the availability of various protein powders makes selecting a protein powder simple, based on nutritional needs and preferences. Each smoothie requires between three to six readily available ingredients, mainly fruits and vegetables.