We have an addiction. An addiction to books. Cookbooks, coffee table books, ebooks, art books, food fiction–you name it; we need it. Here’s a look at what we’ve been reading and why you might need it too.

This Might be the Best Book on Aphrodisiacs Ever Written

This memoir may be the best book on aphrodisiacs ever writtenThe Grand Champion Guide to Gastronomic Ecstasy

Aphrodite: a memoir of the senses

I originally wrote this review in 2004. Since then, I’ve probably purchased at least 30 more books on aphrodisiacs–I also wrote five aphrodisiac cookbooks in that time(!) Despite all that I’ve read and learned, I still believe that this memoir is the best book on aphrodisiacs ever written. Mind you it is not the most thorough or most factual work on the subject. But it is without a doubt the most inspirational–and perhaps aspirational book on the topic I’ve ever found. So I thought it was worth dusting off this review to share with it with you. Because this book will make anyone long to live in a world where food is a metaphor for sensuality.–Amy Reiley

No book better expresses the very adult pleasures of gastronomy than Isabel Allende’s Aphrodite. A gorgeous gorging on the sensuous power of food, Aphrodite is combination memoir, encyclopedia, cookbook and myth tightly woven into all-consuming prose by one of the greatest literary minds of our time.

I love this book. It doesn’t delve seriously into the history of aphrodisiacs. But it builds a foundation for how food and sex mingle in modern, Western culture. Allende’s prose is brilliant. And her reflections on the topic are astute and surprisingly honest. The work is peppered with paintings in rich, vibrant colors and Allende’s poetry as well as a limited number of her personal recipes.

Isabelle Allende

The Bee-Friendly Garden–planning a yard that helps the whole hive

the bee-friendly gardenBees have it tough. Some bees have even made it on the endangered species list. But by making a few great plant choices, you can help support native bee populations. That’s why we love The Bee-Friendly Garden: design an abundant, flower-filled yard that nurtures bees and supports biodiversityRead more

Sam Sifton’s Thanksgiving: how to cook it well

Sam Sifton's Thanksgiving: how to cook it well

This Holiday Guide is no Turkey

Acclaimed food writer and New York Times national editor Sam Sifton knows a thing or two about Holiday entertaining. Explains Sifton, “For a couple of years, I spent Thanksgiving Day at The New York Times, answering panicked questions from readers. I was a one-man Thanksgiving help line.” His new book, Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well uses that experience, along with a bit of wit and enticing prose, to walk the reader through preparing (and surviving) America’s culinary holiday. There are recipes for turkey and traditional sides. But what we appreciate the most are the author’s practical tips like how to warm serving plates and platters. As any book on Thanksgiving should, Sifton’s manual includes recipes for reinventing leftovers into entirely new meals.

Sam Sifton's Thanksgiving

 

32 Yolks–summer reading by Chef Eric Ripert

32 Yolks by Chef Eric RipertWant to know what it takes to be a chef?

Think the career of a chef is a glamorous life?

Then you need to read Michelin-starred Chef Eric Ripert’s memoir, 32 Yolks: From My Mother’s Table to Working the Line. True, Chef Ripert lives “the dream” today, with tv appearances and cushy celebrity chef gigs. Read more

Discover Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year

Ruth Reichl's My Kitchen YearWhat’s filled with mouthwatering temptation yet is entirely calorie free? The answer is Ruth Reichl’s  My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life. A loose narrative with recipes, the book follows Reichl’s renewed love for cooking in the year that followed her abrupt unemployment. (You might recall that Gourmet magazine shuttered unexpectedly in 2009.) Read more