Top food writing for BBQ success
BBQ Inspiration from the bookshelf — mouth-watering and thought-provoking food writing.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat
Samin Nosrat manages to write a manual on how to be an amazing home cook by disguising it as a recipe book. The first half of the book is dedicated to ways to cook using the four elements in her title. It’s such a novel way to think about how we approach the ingredients in our hands and is written in such a nice way you don’t even know you’re learning! The second half is all recipes, but they’re more suggestions than instructions. Your salsa game will never be the same again!
The Sorcerer's Apprentices by Lisa Abend
Part culinary journey, part employment saga this slim journalistic volume looks at the journey the apprentice chefs take at the then most famous restaurant in the world, El Bulli. It’s such a high intensity environment and you really feel the heat of the kitchen as dozens of the world’s best new chefs struggle to survive.
Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabriel Hamilton
More of a memoir than anything else, Blood, Bones and Butter charts Hamilton’s life from watching her mother cook through to a life spent in and running kitchens. It never goes down the path you expect but always takes you along for the ride. It’s one of the most touching, gentle books I’ve read and the food, my word the food. Mouth watering and heart melting.
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
What do you do when you get a flash new job in New York and everyone knows who you are all of a sudden? Why, make a disguise of course. When she was appointed the Restaurant Critic for the New York Times Reichl became worried she was getting an experience other diners weren’t. So, she started dressing up. As the characters she played slowly came to life she began to realise they were about her own therapy rather than being disguised. A beautiful, slightly sad and completely joyous exploration of how we work out who we are.
Table Talk by A.A. Gill
A.A. Gill was many things, but in my mind he was always a food critic first. This collection of his columns from the Sunday Times and Tatler cover everything from correct etiquette at a royal occasion to the sins of fine dining restaurants. It also includes my favourite ever piece of food writing – a no nonsense guide to properly preparing a picnic.
About the selector
Rob Kelly is an RNZ producer, former bookseller and opinion haver.