December 7, 2023

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13 Fall Books for Food Lovers to Devour

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You’re probably not surprised to hear that the Bon Appétit and Epicurious staff is full of bookworms. Now that it’s fall, we love to cozy up with a warm snack and a new book—and if you’re just like us, we’re here to recommend what you should be reading next.

Especially now, as we slither toward Halloween, our book picks look eerie yet delectable: We’re leaning into food and horror, whether that’s cannibalism in A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers, the postapocalyptic end of restaurants in Land of Milk and Honey by C Pam Zhang, witchcraft and mysterious “remedies” in All’s Well by Mona Awad, or the ever-present fears that food might manifest about our bodies in The Thick and the Lean by Chana Porter.

If you’re not feeling the spooky mood, we’ve also got some more contemporary reads about finding purpose in a dorayaki shop and finding family in a Houston bakery. Plus, essays about comfort food, children’s books about runaway dosas and Filipino desserts, and memoirs about heartbreak and restaurant openings—so there’s likely something on this list that inspires you to curl up with a mug of something delicious and start your next read.

Fiction

Same Bed Different Dreams by Ed Park
Random House, November 7, 2023

Ed Park’s upcoming novel follows a loose theme of unfinished business—dreams, books, chess tournaments, wars, computer games—to imagine a metafictional alternate history about post-colonial Korea. He mixes surreal details from the last decade of history (Kim Jong-il’s obsession with Friday the 13th, or the time The Buffalo News ran the headline “A-bomb Destroys Downtown Buffalo” on its front page) with literary details about the work of Korean writers like Yi Sang, Kim Sowol, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha.

Memorable and often funny food moments are peppered throughout. For instance, there’s the scene where Canadian hockey star Tim Horton stops into a Buffalo Tim Hortons for some celebrity treatment, a powdered French braid, and a cup of coffee that “could have been the house blend for a chain of Eastern bloc cafeterias.” Another scene, set closer to the present, finds the narrator walking into a restaurant in Manhattan’s Koreatown to trade New York publishing gossip with a group of old friends all the while downing bowls of makgeolli, bottles of soju, and piles of pajeon and jjajangmyeon. Good food, it seems, will find you wherever you are in the multiverse. —Anna Hezel, Epicurious senior editor

Family Meal by Bryan Washington
Riverhead Books, October 10, 2023

In Family Meal, Bryan Washington asks a heart-wrenching question: If love makes you feel wonderfully full, how do you feel when that love is suddenly gone? Cam, a bartender, is grieving the death of his partner, Kai, while trying to repair his tattered relationship with his estranged best friend, TJ. Known for his cooking, Cam regularly makes the people in his life scrambled eggs covered in Cholula and omelets loaded with bean sprouts and chili garlic sauce, but since Kai’s death, he struggles to feed himself or accept food from others. It’s a book that tenderly traces the tangled relationship between grief, desire, and hunger. Each meal in the book, whether a burnt biscuit or a platter of smothered chicken, has so much heft and significance. —Karen Yuan, culture editor

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