Read more to become a better food writer


At the conclusion of my Food Writing Tips post, noodlies, Sydney food blog encouraged everyone to read more to improve your writing.  In this post, you’ll find extracts from some of my favourite books which demonstrate those food writing tips even though some of the books aren’t about food.


tales of the unexpectedTales of the Unexpected, Roald Dahl contains a collection of delicious short stories that’s moody, suspenseful, evocative and captivating:
“.. Now everyone was wathcing Richard Pratt, watching his face as he reached slowly for his glass with his right hand and lifted it to his nose. The man was about fifty year old and he did not have a pleasant face. Somehow, it was all mouth – mouth and lips – the full, wet lips of the professional gourmet, the lower lip hanging downward in the centre, a pendulous, permanently open taster’s lip, shaped to receive the rim of a glass or a morsel of food. Like a keyhole, I thought, watching it; his mouth is like a large wet keyhole.“: Taste short story.


Love and hunger


Love and Hunger, Charlotte Wood is an optimistic book that oozes love and warmth:

But what about my devil’s-advocate friend’s assertion that people become good cooks in order to impress – even intimidate – others? Well, no doubt this is true for some. But I think the inverse is far more prevalent: that people become good cooks in order to be loved.




Destination Saigon, Walter Mason is a rare, joyous and at times hilarious insight into modern Vietnam. While I might be biased as Walter is my partner, the Sydney Morning Herald is more objective, its Traveller section named Destination Saigon one of the 10 best travelogues of 2010.  Walter’s writing is an excellent example of a distinctive ‘voice’:

A poor village boy like Ly, with an absentee father and a Year 9 education, is almost without options in modern-day Vietnam. The most he can hope for is a life driving someone else’s truck. I suggested that perhaps, if he worked hard and saved his money, he could buy his own vehicle in five years or so and really start to be in control of his life. “Don’t, please don’t” he said, turning to me with deadly seriousness. “I don’t want to get carried away with dreams. One dream is enough for right now.


the heart is a lonely hunterThe Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers inspired that Madonna song. It’s a powerful and perceptive examination of isolation, the need for understanding and the search for love:

The awnings over the closed stores were raised and the buildings had a bare look in the bright sun. He passed the New York Cafe. The door was open, but the place looked empty and dark.  He had not found any socks to wear that morning, and the hot pavement burned through the thin soles of his shoes. The sun felt like a hot piece of iron pressing down on his head. The town seemed more lonesome than any place he had ever known. The stillness of the street gave him a strange feeling. When he had been drunk the place had seemed violent and riotous. And now it was as though everything had come to a sudden, static halt.

I hope these extracts from some of my favourite books have given you a taste of they joys of reading and of writing.

Do you have a favourite books? Leave a comment and share it!