Culinary Memoir, Humor, Etc.

Funny food writers who travel, funny travel writers who eat, and funny writers who eat travelers... wait, nix that last part. Other great books about food, cooking, and travel:

Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
     A former New York Times food critic and later editor of Gourmet magazine, Ruth Reichl is very impressive on paper, but she's even more impressive to me for her warm, easy-going, personable style as a writer. This book, about coming home to New York to take the job at the Times, is very funny and full of insight into how restaurants, papers, and food critics work. Her stories of making up alternate personalities, complete with outfits and wigs, to visit up-and-coming restaurants incognito, are wonderfully revealing. She makes you feel like you, too, are getting an illicit peek behind the curtain at how the country's best restaurants really work.

My Life in France by Julia Child
     I'm always so curious about how the people I respect became who they are, so autobiographies and memoirs are really fascinating to me. Julia Child's surprise career as a chef and TV personality is such an interesting, strange, and wonderful story, and I reveled in getting the inside scoop.

Feeding a Yen by Calvin Trillin
      Tremendously fun to read, and made me all hungry and wanderlust-y. I've culled so many recipe ideas from it, and I have such respect for Calvin Trillin's appetite as well as his writing. This is one of my favorites in this genre, and I'd suggest it to anyone!

The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones 
      Written at a relaxed pace, and not the most action-packed of memoirs, but there are few people who have quietly had as much impact on modern Western culture as Judith Jones. She retrieved the diary of Anne Frank from a pile of to-be-rejected manuscripts, shepherded Mastering the Art of French Cooking into the world (and came up with the title), and worked with the likes of Camus, Sartre and John Updike, and in the food world James Beard, Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock, Alice Waters, and so many famous cookbook writers it would be folly to try to list them. She's also written many cookbooks herself, some with her husband Evan. She is such a fascinating person, and such a model of how to never lose your mojo (she's 87 now, and happily publishing a blog on cooking for one).

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
     He may have called vegans a "hezbollah-like splinter faction" of vegetarianism, "the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit," but he's still a great chef and a great writer, as well as a person who genuinely respects food, which wins me over every time. He also hates floor staff, so he definitely would not like me. Now that I think about it, I'm kind of offended. And hungry.