4 Books To Inspire Your Inner Chef

cooking-books-inspire-inner-chef-inspire-livvyland-blogBy Eugenia Vela

I absolutely love food. It’s one of my favorite things, for the obvious reasons (it’s delicious) and for the bigger picture stuff. I find food to be a celebration of culture, travel, and storytelling through generations. It’s a beautiful way to spend time with family, to explore the unfamiliar, and to simply feel…good. Warm. Comforted.

I also happen to love books, funnily enough for so many of the same reasons. Books and food bring people together, across space and time. So books ABOUT food? Forget about it. There’s plenty more, including great works of fiction about food (Robin Sloan’s Sourdough and Elizabeth Acevedo’s With the Fire on High instantly come to mind), but I figured I’d give y’all some nonfiction for a change! Here are a few books that will inspire your inner chef! 

Give a Girl a Knife

This book will make you crave some hash browns! Or any good old fashioned, hearty, filling meal that will transport you to the family dinners of your youth, your mom working on that perfect casserole that somehow doesn’t taste the same when you remake it as an adult. In this fun, vivid memoir, chef Amy Thielen brings the food and values of her Minnesota upbringing to the bustling New York City restaurant world. A wonderful literary adventure for the Food Network obsessed (me)!

Tiny Hot Dogs

The perfect little book for readers who love a good laugh! Tiny Hot Dogs offers a personal look into the wonderful– at times hilarious– life of “Caterer to the Stars”, Mary Giuliani. This is a book of essays sprinkled with delicious recipes to please all types of crowds. Giuliani’s voice rings through its pages, full of personality, charm, and the occasional hot gossip on a celebrity or two. I read it while standing in line at a festival, and was chuckling out loud to myself the whole time.


Milk Street

Whether you’re familiar with celeb chef Christopher Kimball or not, Milk Street is sure to charm its way into your kitchen and your heart! A gorgeous cookbook stuffed with recipes that are easy to follow, simple, and unforgettable. Milk Street puts a twist on home cooking, making it even more accessible, without sacrificing any of the flavor. The photos in this book inspire me to get off the couch and play in the kitchen– plus, wouldn’t this look good on your shelves?!

Franklin Steak

I grew up in a Mexican household where my mother was always in charge of the grilling. My dad knew to stay away while she mastered some juicy ribeyes and ribs, veggies, and sizzling quesadillas! So when I got my hands on Aaron Franklin’s new book, Franklin Steak, I knew I had the perfect holiday gift for my mami. That being said, this will motivate all sorts of folks to learn more about where their beef comes from, encourage them to find a local butcher, cut and season properly, and so much more. Complete with gorgeous photos and personal essays, Franklin Steak celebrates the beauty of local communities working together. As many of you might know, Aaron Franklin is an Austin local, so I might be a little bit biased *winks*… but I dare you to test it yourself!

Do you have a favorite cookbook? Let us know!


  • Sienna says:

    I am stunned by that post! Will definitely take a look 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    First off, Sourdough was such a quirky fun book. I really enjoyed Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nostra this year. The illustrations are great and the scientific descriptions resonate with me. Thanks for these recommendations- I’ll have to borrow Franklin Steaks from my dad.

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