50 Essential Novels for Foodies

‘Tis the season, as they say, to stuff your face. Thanksgiving, that hallowed day of highly caloric foods and oft-tempestuous family relations, is upon us. To celebrate — or just to escape the festivities for a while — why not nourish the foodie in you with some gourmand-friendly literature? Behold, a spread worthy of kings: 50 essential works of fiction (no memoirs or travel narratives here, that’s for another list) to whet your appetite, and then satisfy it, and then satisfy it some more. And as ever, if your favorite got squeezed out, just pile it on the plate in the comments.


The Epicure’s Lament, Kate Christensen

Was there ever a more deliciously misanthropic narrator than Hugo Wittier? He’s dying from a rare disease that could be cured if he’d just stop smoking, but he won’t — and Hugo compares his diary, that is, the novel, to a long, garum-filled “suicide note.” He rebuffs the advances of his sanctimonious brother and his ex-wife and gets his pleasure from nothing but smoking and cooking and being right. Just a taste of his attitude to whet your appetite: “I sputtered off at a fuck-you stately pace up the long driveway to Route 23, and then to Stewart’s, of course to buy cigarettes, but incidentally to chat up the cashier, a gormless, lumpen girl who has captured my heart with her idiot-savant-like chatter. We are both high-school dropouts, and, as such, are soulmates.”