I love being in the kitchen. It’s been my happy place ever since I was a small child planting my tushie in my mom’s colander. My siblings and I were always underfoot, so, as soon as we were tall enough to help, she put us to work.
As an avid reader with a thing for the kitchen, it doesn’t surprise me that I love books with recipes (not cookbooks) and that I find myself wandering into the kitchen after reading a book about food. I mean, what’s better than sitting down with a book about food while enjoying a delicious homemade treat?
So here are some books that make me want to get up and cook or bake. Or sometimes both. Gotta have dinner and dessert, right?
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
I love this book. My mom somehow got an ARC of this sent to her in 2007. It’s the only book we both enjoy. Claire Waverly is a caterer, and sometimes used the magical plants in her garden at her clients’ request to influence their invited guests. The focus isn’t on food, but I still love it and wish I could be just as good as Claire in the kitchen.
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
Okay, I know it’s a little weird, but there’s a character called Cherry, and every time I think of that I think of cherries, cherry pie, cherry Coke, cherry cheesecake…And then I want a black forest cake. This book isn’t even close to being about food, but it still makes me want to bake a cake. Or maybe I just look for excuses, no matter how flimsy.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Yes, another weird one perhaps. My 5th grade teacher read this to us, and then had the brilliant idea to try to make Turkish Delight. It was…interesting. But now every time I think of this book I want to make Turkish Delight. Now I just need to figure out how…
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
I didn’t particularly like this book. I kept thinking it had more to do with furniture than a girl who can taste feelings. But there’s a good amount of food talk, so it both makes me hungry and want to cook. Also, it makes me want to make a lemon cake. But not with chocolate frosting. That just sounds bizarre to me.
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan
This book was charming yet ordinary, but I think I like it solely because it involves cupcakes. Issy is a very talented baker who learned from her successful baker grandfather, and everything she makes is mouthwatering. I can’t say I didn’t go and make cake while reading this book. And there are recipes, but I don’t bake using recipes anymore so I can’t say if they’re any good.
The Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle
Mysteries, food, recipes. Oh, yeah, and coffee. This is my absolute favorite mystery series. Not only do I love the characters, the mysteries, and all the talk about food (Clare is, apparently, an excellent cook and baker in addition to excellent coffeehouse manager), but almost every book comes with recipes! My husband’s favorite lemon cookies came from one of them. I found my go-to dinner roll recipe in another. I can’t help but think of food whenever I read one of these books.
Anyone notice my disturbing obsession with making cake? What books make you want to bake or cook?