Dirt: Adventures in Lyon, as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the... by
What it's about: New Yorker writer Bill Buford worked in the kitchen at DC's famed Citronelle restaurant to learn about French cooking before moving to Lyon in 2008 with his wife and three-year-old twins, where they lived for almost five years.
Who it's for: those who appreciate haute cuisine, stories of families abroad, or vibrant travelogues with amiable guides.
About the author: Buford also wrote about living and cooking in Italy in 2006's Heat.
Braver Than You Think: Around the World on the Trip of My (Mother's) Lifetime by
What happened: With her mother suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease, newly married newspaper journalist Maggie Downs quit her job to travel -- her mother had always put trips off. Traveling cheaply and mostly alone, Downs visited 17 countries in a year.
Activities included: rafting down the Nile, volunteering at a primate sanctuary in Bolivia, hiking Machu Picchu.
Want a taste? "The decision to live while my mother dies has brought me to the dirty floor of an airport, muddy hiking boots and suitcase wheels near my face."
The Museum of Whales You Will Never See, and Other Excursions to Iceland's Most... by
A. Kendra Greene
What it is: a poetic illustrated tribute to the many quirky museums in Iceland by American Kendra Greene, who takes readers on a journey as she ponders the human impulse to collect, as well as what saved items tell us about people from the past and the present.
Museums include: Icelandic Sea Monster Museum; Icelandic Phallological Museum; Herring Era Museum; Petra's Stone Collection.
Reviewers say: "beguiling and witty" (Kirkus Reviews); "a gleaming gem of intelligent writing and an exuberant travelogue" (Booklist).
All the Way to the Tigers: A Memoir by
What's inside: compelling, short chapters that move back and forth between time and place describing the acclaimed author's 1950s Chicago-area childhood, her catastrophic 2008 ankle injury, and a 2011 solo tiger-spotting trip to India during the middle of a cold snap.
Read it for: candid writing, interesting factoids, an evocative look at India, and a thoughtful examination of life and travel.
Did you know? Unseen tigers are always referred to as "she."
Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by
What happened: Elizabeth, an American working in London, instantly connected with Gwendal, a Frenchman in England for a conference. Before long, they were having lunch together in Paris, falling in love, and getting married.
Why you might like it: Using food as a frame, Elizabeth charmingly documents their courtship, describing mouth-watering dishes (such as molten chocolate cake and summer ratatouille) as well as food shopping in a foreign language and choosing a wedding cake.
Want more? Pick up Picnic in Provence, which continues the story.
Grape, Olive, Pig: Deep Travels through Spain's Food Culture by
What it is: an evocative celebration of the culture and cuisine of every region of Spain by an American foodie who lives there.
What inside: personal stories, including the author meeting and dating his Spanish wife; short bios of fascinating Spanish people; tips on what to eat and drink (hint: forget Sangria); mouth-watering descriptions of tapas, acorn-fed pig, paella, and more.
Still hungry? Goulding, a co-founder of Roads & Kingdoms, gives a similar though less intimate treatment to Japan in Rice, Noodle, Fish.
On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome, with Love and Pasta by
What it's about: Curious about the origins of noodles, Jen Lin-Liu, a recently married Chinese American cooking instructor based in Beijing, traveled the famed Silk Road in search of answers, sampling regional dishes in the homes of generous local women in China, Tibet, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Italy, and other locations.
Don't miss: her thoughts on love and what being a wife means to her and to her hosts; the tempting recipes.
Reviewers say: a "footloose, spontaneous, and appetite-whetting journal of culinary adventure" (Kirkus Reviews).
From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by
What it is: A poignant, heartfelt memoir by actress Tembi Locke, who fell in love with Saro, an Italian professional chef. Saro's Sicilian family wasn't sure about him marrying a Black American, but as he battled and then succumbed to cancer, Tembi grew closer to them and spent summers in Sicily with the couple's adopted daughter.
Media buzz: a Netflix series produced by Reese Witherspoon and Zoe Saldana, who'll also star, is planned. Also working on the production are Tembi and her sister, bestselling writer Attica Locke.
The Comfort Food Diaries: My Quest for the Perfect Dish to Mend a Broken Heart by
What it's about: Grappling with the aftermath of her brother's suicide and the end of her engagement, grief-stricken food writer Emily Nunn embarked on a cross-country road trip visiting friends and family and indulging in favorite comfort foods.
Why you might like it: It's a compelling, unflinching story beautifully told with insight and humor.
Recipes include: Country Ham Biscuits; Lemon Sponge Cups; Cream Cheese and Olive Sandwiches; Collard Soup.
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