Saturday, April 22, 2017

They Call Them "Foodoirs"

I somehow missed learning the term “foodoir” until I saw it in The New York Times Book Review of 4/16/17, though I am a great fan of this type of book. It means, as is obvious, memoirs about food. It seems a little artificial and awkward, but it does concisely describe what has become a growing genre of books. A quick Internet search told me that this vocabulary item has been in use since at least 2010. Learning this term reminded me of some of the food memoirs I have read and thoroughly enjoyed over the past few years, and in many cases written about here. These latter include a list of several such books posted on 2/4/10, as well as posts about former San Francisco Chronicle and New York Times food critic’s Kim Severson’s “Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My life” (6/29/10); Gabrielle Hamilton’s “Book, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef” (4/26/11); Marcus Samuelsson’s “Yes, Chef” (7/21/12); novelist Kate Christenson’s “Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites” (8/1/13); Michael Gibney’s “Sous Chef” (1/10/16); and several others. I am remembering with special fondness two of the famous food critic Ruth Reichl’s beautifully written memoirs that I read before I started this blog: “Tender at the Bone” and “Comfort Me with Apples.” I find the world of food, especially the world of restaurants, fascinating, and am especially interested to read how chefs, food writers, and other food professionals became so interested in making food the center of their careers. In the cases mentioned here, they also became writers about their lives in the world of food, and their great love of food, cooking, and sharing food; the ones I have listed are all not just writers, but good writers. Of course not all “foodoirs” are good ones, or well written; in fact, I have read some very mediocre ones. But when they are good, they are a joy to read.
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