Breton Buckwheat Cake Recipe

A deliciously dense, buckwheat flour cake that can be baked off in a tart or cake pan. From David Lebovitz's new book, The Sweet Life in Paris.

Breton Buckwheat Cake

I thought we might chat a bit about books today. I wonder if you love reading as much as I do? As a kid, my mom would take me to the local library every couple of weeks and allow me to fill a boot box with whatever books I could carry. I had a little light that clipped onto the headboard of my bed, and I would read most nights until glow from my room was the only light in the house. Who doesn't love the way a good book can take you to places you've never been, or even better, introduce you to people from times you'd never know otherwise. Anyhow, it is a habit that stuck, and I'm always on the lookout for the next page-turner. Right now I'm reading Richard Price's Lush Life, Camus' The Plague, and David's The Sweet Life in Paris. A bit manic, I know. But seriously, 178 pages into The Plague, one welcomes a solid dose of Lebovitz-style humor. And the great recipes don't hurt either.

Buckwheat Cake Recipe

When a friend asked me to bring dessert to dinner the other night, I cheated and peeked ahead at the recipes in the back of David's book, and discovered this Breton Buckwheat Cake with Fleur de Sel. It's a simple, deliciously dense, buckwheat flour cake that can be baked off in a tart or cake pan. You'll love it. You can serve it with any sort of seasonal fruit compote. I imagine a dollop of floppy whipped cream would be great - or, do as I did and whisk a splash of maple syrup into greek yogurt on your way out the door and serve that on top (or to the side) of each slice.

Buckwheat Cake Recipe

Recipes and cookbooks aside, I was thinking it might be fun to trade some book suggestions. I imagine everyone needs summer reading ideas. So, what is the best book you've read in the past year? Off the top of my head I can recommend The White Tiger, The Other, and The Talented Mr. Ripley. On deck I have: Beautiful Children, Wide Sargasso Sea (re-read), City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi, and Baltasar and Blimunda. Looking forward to your suggestions (particularly fiction). -h

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Breton Buckwheat Cake with Fleur de Sel

I made David's recipe verbatim, but for those of you who are interested, I imagine you could experiment with various flours - for ex: whole wheat pastry flour in place of the all-purpose flour. Or another kind of flour in place of buckwheat flour (teff?) - for an entirely different cake. David notes that if you don't have buckwheat flour, you can substitute one cup (140g) of all-purpose flour for the buckwheat. Also, if you don't have fleur de sel, use a light tasting sea salt, one that is not finely ground, or in a pinch kosher salt will work too. Well wrapped in plastic, this cake with keep for up to four days at room temperature. You can also wrap it in plastic, and then in foil and freeze it for up to two months.

For the cake:
7/8 cup (140g) buckwheat flour
1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/3 teaspoon fleur de sel
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 pound (240g) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup (200g) sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum

For the glaze
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon milk

Butter a 9 or 10-inch (25-cm) tart pan with a removable bottom or a 9-inch/23 cm springform cake pan). Preheat the oven to 350F degrees (180C).

In a small bowl, whisk together the buckwheat and all-purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cinnamon.

In the bowl of a standing mixer or by hand, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg yolks and whole egg with the vanilla and rum with a fork, then gradually dribble the egg mixture into the batter while beating. If using an electric mixer, beat on high speed so the butter gets really airy.

Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top as flat as possible with an offset metal or plastic spatula.

Make a glaze by stirring the single yolk and milk together with a fork, then brush it generously all over the top. (You may not use it all, but use most of it.) Take a fork and rake it across the top in three parallel lines, evenly space; then repeat starting from a slightly different angle to make a criss-cross pattern.

Crumble the remaining 1/3 teaspoon salt over the gateau with your fingers and bake for 45 minutes (hs note: you might want to place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack below your tart in case it leaks at all - also, don't over-bake or it will be on the dry side - start checking after 35 minutes or so). Let cool completely before unmolding.

Reprinted with permission from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz. Broadway (May 5, 2009)

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I second the thanks for mentioning libraries. Thank you!


Wow! This is a very cook recipe. I like the design on the top also.

Treehouse Chef

The Pursuit of Love, Nancy Mitford


Thanks so much for the library memories, Heidi. I’ve been a library evangelist since I was about five — worlds to explore, all for free!
And thanks to everyone for the book suggestions! My own: Dog On It, by Spencer Quinn. Chet and Bernie are a dog/detective team, and the whole tale is told from Chet’s point of view. Funny and marvelous, and I can’t stop recommending it!

RL McGruder

Heidi thanks so much for including metric units for baking, i mean celsius as well as F and baking pans in cm as well as inches, it makes it so muche easier now…and BTW your website is fantastic!!!


I second:
– Bel Canto
– Shantaram – great, true story being released as a movie this year with Johnny Depp in the lead,
Ka’a’awa – one of my Favorites for the superb storytelling/humor. About the shift of power in early Hawaii.
The Girl with No Shadow – sequel to Chocolat, IF you are in the mood for dark emotions.
For excellent easy non-fiction, I LOVED,
– My Story As Told By Water – loved it, inspiring
– The Parrot Who Owns Me by Joanna Burger/funny and a good read
– The Hidden Life of Dogs by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas/amazing


I’m so glad that all of you came out to share your recommendations! I had no idea you were such bookworms 🙂 Thank you!
I’m going to leave the comments here open until late this evening, but will likely close them after that – I’m getting a bit more spam than usual on this post. -h


I just swung by for your buttermilk raspberry cake recipe and got all distracted about this buckwheat cake.
No One Belongs Here More than You – amazing beautiful sharply told stories by Miranda July
St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves – Karen Russell, who writes the way I want to
Out Shooting Horses – Per Petterson – best book I’ve read in ages!
The Gathering – Anne Enright (brilliant inside out narrative of a family inspired by a suicide)
Netherland – Joseph O’Neill — a smart, heartbreaking book about 9/11 and cricket
Also, I’m always looking for ideas for good kids’ snacks w/o nuts, as my daughter’s pre-school forbids any snacks with nuts.
Love your blog!


The Exemplary Husband.
My wife loved the Grandma’s grain recipe.


Thirding “The School of Essential Ingredients”, and I rather enjoyed “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” as well.
Of older titles, “Daddy Long Legs” by Jean Webster is still a delight, and always makes me want to make toffee. Also, a number of the books by Georgette Heyer have been reprinted lately, and she’s a lot of fun.
Don’t forget to wander through the children’s and young adult books sections of your local library, if you like fiction. There are some amazing books out there, both serious and funny. “Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet” by Sherri Smith and “Dear Julia” by Amy Zemser are both recent titles revolving around food in the YA section, and on the Juvie side you may be able to find “Mary Poppins in the Kitchen, a cookery book with a story” by P.L. Travers, as well as some cookbooks centered around classic children’s books.


The Shadow of the Wind – my favourite book of all time.
The Time Traveller’s Wife – a close second.
The Thirteenth Tale – for a good “goth-icky” read
I just stumbled across your site while searching for a good tapioca pudding recipe (aka “bumpy puddin’ ” by my 3-year old). Gorgeous pics. Keep up the good work!


the poisonwood bible by barbara kingsolver. my most favorite ever.


I am certainly going to try this recipe.
However, your reading list and those recommended in the comments were priceless!
After typing some of them in my “books to read list” for 20 minutes, I finally added the url from this article to the list to keep my fingers from falling off.
As this is my first comment, I will take this opportunity to thank you for your wonderful site. I have never had a bad result!
Thank YOU and all your other readers.


Thanks for this wonderful thread. I too am usually in three books at once, and here I thought it was just me.
Here are a few of my recent favorites:
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Painting Chinese : a lifelong teacher gains the wisdom of youth / Herbert Kohl.
anything by Sujata Massey, but try to do them in order starting with the salaryman’s wife
anything by Qiu Xiaolong
Lost in TRanslation by Nicole Moines her Cup of LIght is good too.
Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin
Sarah Durant’s series of three books
Any of Susan Vreelands books about the lives of artists through the ages
more to come later

renee johnson

corrections, as I see my post. Sorry for the typo HEIDI. & I meant wonderful story not wonder story,


My passions are books, food, my husband & movies, though not always in that order & I love your site. I made the itsy bitsy choc chip cookies this week & skipped dinner for raw cookie dough, a few finished cookies & a glass of red wine. They were a big hit at work.
Poisonwood Bible & White Tiger are 2 of my favorites also.
Motherless Brooklyn- Jonathan Lethem–really creative & fantastic like The White Tiger
Suitable Boy–Vikram Seth, wonderful
Mrs Dalloway-Virginia Woolf this book reads like a symphony
Ahab’s Wife–Sena Jeter Naslund
The Makioka Sisters–Junichiro Tanizaki
The Ginger Tree–Oswald Wynd
A Map of the World–Jane Hamilton
Family Matters–Rohinton Misty
The Piano Shop on the Left Bank–Thad Carhart– really wonderful
Haweswater–Sarah Hall
Ruby & Spear–Todd Walton, but you have to be a romantic & like basketball or it could be a little sappy (takes place in SF)
My Life in France–Julia Child w/ Alex Prud’homme non-fiction but such a wonder story of her passion for life & her marriage.
Thanks Hiedi for all that you share with us . Hope you read & love something I have posted so I can give you something back


#1) Heidi: I love everything you do, your recipes, and your call for book suggestions! thank you.
#2) I have many of these books on my shelves, so thank you to all the readers postings, I’ll get right to it!
#3) my own fun fiction suggestion: The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie King. A fun mystery, well written, clever. Sherlock Holmes is a character, but the main character is a feisty young thing who’s fiercely smart.


I don’t know if it’s been mentioned yet, but I’m reading “The Help” and loving it…

Mixing Bowl Mama

I don’t know if it’s been mentioned yet, but I’m reading “The Help” and loving it…

Mixing Bowl Mama

Your blog is inspirational, thank you. For fiction, anything by Jhumpa Lahiri – she writes beautifully. I’m also a fan of Louise Erdrich. Non-fiction goes to “A Year by the Sea.” Also, I saw it listed in an earlier post, but “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight” is a captivating and disturbing memoir about a girl’s childhood in Africa.


I am certainly going to try this recipe.
However, your reading list and those recommended in the comments were priceless!
After typing some of them in my “books to read list” for 20 minutes, I finally added the url from this article to the list to keep my fingers from falling off.
As this is my first comment, I will take this opportunity to thank you for your wonderful site. I have never had a bad result!
Thank YOU and all your other readers.


Cake looks great! Books:
1. “At Risk” by Stella Rimington. A thriller; practically impossible to put down. She’s the former head of MI5 in Britain so she knows how to write spy stuff.
2. “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara. About the Battle of Gettysburg of all things. One of the most gripping and educational page-turners I’ve ever read.
Happy reading!


I’ve been reading “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery. It is definitely one of those books that you can get lost in.


Barnacle Love, a series of connected stories by Anthony De Sa, had me up until 3am for a few nights, just because I wanted to get in one more story before going to bed. The collection is melancholy but lovely, and one story in particular includes some vivid depictions of Portuguese food culture.


Definitely needed AT LEAST 25 more minutes in the oven. I had it in for 50 min, took it out, check with a toothpick, it came out with just a few crumbs, and I didn´t want to overbake it as the recipe warns; it fell in the middle because it was NO WAY baked. Very disappointing.
HS: Hmmm. That definitely doesn’t sound right Iris. I would just double check to make sure your oven temperature is accurate.


I’m a huge fan of – it’s an all-volunteer project to make audio recordings of all books in the public domain. This morning I started listening to Hellen Keller’s “The World I LIve In”. It’s absolutely amazing.


If you’re looking for a less traditional fiction read, something off the beaten path you could say… I’m suggesting Chuck Palahniuk’s “Invisible Monsters”
It’s scandalous, unforgiving, and crude. It’s a pretty wild read, but definitely a page-turner. I’ve enclosed a link to a summary of the book, if you are interested.. 🙂

Michelle P.

This recipe looks great! How can I make it vegan?


How fun! I love books as much as cooking. A great book to read (particularly if you are interested in India) is Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. it’s quite a story! Currently I am reading The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry, which is set in modern day Salem, Massachusetts. I can’t put it down.
Thanks for suggesting this as i am always on the lookout for my next book! 🙂


thank you for the recipes and the book titles to read. I am an avid reader and I am also of Breton ancestry, so this page really was a hit with me. I immediately copied the recipe and then went to Dominique’s page to look at traditional recipes. My mom recently died at the age of 95, so I lost the source of the recipes from Bretagne..


Wow, what a wonderful list and right on cue for summer too!
I just finished House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III and found it haunting.
Nobody mentioned Miss Read yet but if you love rural England and the way it used to be, her books are great reads (no pun intended!). Being the happy owner of a Kindle, I am also reading a lot of books I never had access to before, such as travel writing by Thackeray and Robert Louis Stevenson, to mention just a few. Reading them is like opening a window on a very different world from the one we live in. I also love their use of language. Just finished Coop by Michael Perry, which I enjoyed as well. I could go on and on, so I’ll stop right here and go check out this goodreads site. I had never heard of it before. Cheers!


A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
It’s a long, long read but it’s beautiful. I cried when I came to the last chapter but not because it was sad. I just didn’t want it to end.
Thank you for this post, by the way. I’m going on holiday by myself this summer and my plan is simply to read in a warm place. Shall use these responses to fill my case with books.


I completely identify with that- reading was a huge part of my childhood..
I would highly recommend the following books:
J.M Coetze’s Disgrace
Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being
Also as somebody had said: Calvino’s Invisible Cities is beautiful..
Murakami’s Wind up Bird Chronicle is also a great read..
Also, if you are looking for a warm, lazy read I would recommend any book by Alexander McCall Smith- especially the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency though I enjoy the books in the ‘Isabel Dalhousie’ series and those in the ’44 Scotland Street’ series too..They are perfect for summer..:)


Heidi, I just started reading David Lebovitz’s Sweet Life too. I’m on a kitch lit binge right now. First it was “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter and Tears in Paris at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School” by Kathleen Flinn, and then “A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table” by Molly Wizenberg. Both books have similar format (short chapters filled with real-life stories ending with a recipe) but very different styles. I really enjoyed both of them and recommend them to anyone with an overgrown interest in food, like myself. Another recent and good read was “Everybody Into the Pool” by Beth Lisick, a quirky and funny memoir by a local San Franciscan. The hubster kicked me out of the bedroom while I was reading this, because my laughter was keeping him up. It was well worth it.


I came across your website while researching “pesto” online (wanted to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything) and loved your recipe. I don’t have a food processor and always handchop my pesto, so that was perfect.
I always recommend your site! It’s perfect for my sister and her expat friends who don’t travel with 15 cookbooks.
Books: I love a lot of the recommendations that have been offered, so I’ll try not to duplicate. Here are some recent favorites…
Peony in Love
The Heretic’s Daughter
When Will There be Good News?
The Drunkard’s Walk
Stories of English
Alphabet Juice
Hot, Flat and Crowded
I look forward to reading everyone else’s favorites!


I’m an avid reviewer of these recipes and a huge book lover! I couldn’t be more excited about posting on books. A few personal suggestions:
The Count of Monte Cristo – Dumas
The Time Traveller’s Wife – Niffenegger
Bel Canto – Patchett
Rebecca – DuMaurier
Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao – Diaz
Gone with the Wind – Mitchell
anything by Jane Austen


What a lovely idea – lucious cake and book recommendations – more than enough for the entire summer! I’ve read and re-read “A Natural History of the Senses” by Diane Ackerman, for the way it celebrates the senses and the sensual.


I absolutely loved EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE by Jonathan Safran Foer.
This recipe looks delicious, and very adaptable to gluten-free 🙂
Thanks, Heidi!


I don’t really do fiction, but the nearest thing to it that I’ve long enjoyed are the books by Alexander McCall Smith and his stories about the “#1 Ladies Detective Agency” based on his experiences in Botswana. Now made into TV films.
Mma Precious Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are a joy to know. Gentle and funny

Frank Blewitt

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss is a beautiful, beautiful book. I give it as gifts.
Krauss is the wife of Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated) and she’s every bit the writer he is.
History of Love is funny, poetic, complex, post-modern (but not in a bad way). Totally fantastic.
I think it has a bad title and would get more notice and press if it didn’t sound like a romance novel.

DD Grayson

out of print -c1985 “The French at Table” by Rudolph Chelminski ISBN 0-688-04459-X
accompany with Beaujolais
“On Rue Tatin” by Susan Herrmann Loomis
bio of Antonin Caremeo

Jan in STL

out of print -c1985 “The French at Table” by Rudolph Chelminski ISBN 0-688-04459-X
accompany with Beaujolais
“On Rue Tatin” by Susan Herrmann Loomis
bio of Antonin Caremeo

Jan in STL

Hi Heidi,
I recently read Late nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay. The story is set in the Yukon and it reads more like a beautiful poem that envelopes the reader from beginning to end. I
By the way, 101 cookbooks is the the first site I visit when I sit down at my desk with my coffee in morning. Love it!
Melanie from Montreal


Anything by Paul Auster! Or the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle if you’re looking for longer read. I’m thrilled to see that someone has recommended The End of the Road by John Barth. A classic postmodern novel that doesn’t get much attention.


most of my favorite books from this year have already been mentioned, but one I don’t think anyone has listed yet is The Passion of Tasha Darsky by Yael Goldstein Love. And a couple of my favorite books from years past are:
The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell
In The Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez
Thanks for asking this question… I now have a bunch of new ideas.


Sometimes I prefer a light read in the summer months.
For anyone who appreciates books and gardens and a quiet day, I recommend Elizabeth and Her German Garden and The Solitary Summer, both by Elizabeth Von Arnim, the same author who wrote Enchanted April. Humorous and honest.
Merde Actually by Stephen Clarke
Very funny!
Reckless Appetites by Jacqueline Deval
If you appreciate great authors and good food, you will enjoy this book.


Play it as it Lays – Joan Didion
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
The Moviegoer – Walker Percy
White Noise – Don DeLillo
The End of the Road – John Barth
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates
Fup – Jim Dodge


This cake looks beautiful and unusual – a must try. I have always been a voracious reader, too. I would often snuggle under my covers after lights-out with a flashlight and my latest read. I just love a book that pulls you to open it everytime you walk in the room.

Cookin' Canuck

The cake looks wonderful. Unfortunately I don’t have much time for reading for pleasure lately due to grad school exams etc. and it saddens me so much. I have a few that I would heartily recommend if you haven’t read them already: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks is really interesting, The Book Thief by Marcus Suzak (not sure if that’s how you spell it), A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini…


The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
A tender, intelligent and uplifting book.

LJ Stubbs

I only discovered your blog yesterday and have already made two recipes for my family. I think I’ll try some cookies this weekend.
I am reading The Secret River by Kate Grenville and really enjoying it at the moment.
One of my favourite cook books is Saha by Greg and Lucy Malouf it is an exploration of Lebanese Food.


What is fleur de sel? I’ve never heard of it before.
One book I’d highly recommend for summer reading is “A Single Swallow” by Horatio Clare. Not fiction, but a great adventure as Horatio travels to Africa to follow the swallow’s migration back to his mother’s hill farm in Wales. Beautifully written.


Regarding the books, I have read the trilogie of the golden compass from Philip Pullman and was really taken into all the fantasy stories from my childhood. I could hardly put it down and I look forward to read it to my kids when they will be a bit older…
I love your recipe and I think it is a good idea to try a cake with buckweat. But I have also a question for you: All the cake recipes that I know are so heavy with lots of butter and eggs, sometimes chocolate too, that I think theire often too much after a big dinner. Do you know any cake recipe that is a bit lighter? I am not on a diet or anything and I do not have any waight problems, but some of my friends do and then I feel bad bringing them such a heavy cake for desert. Thanks for your help! Greetings from Spain! 😉


My heart skipped a little, today, at the invitation to combine two
essential things: words and food.
after reading and cooking with you for years, because these two things (plus music)are the axis of my being, it seemed a perfect day for my first post
this cake would be heavenly with tea
fresh fruit — peaches and blueberries
on a tray
on a couch
near a window
where rain is falling.
written on the body — Jeanette Winterson; devastatingly beautiful
the unbearable lightness of being OR the book of laughter and forgetting — (or anything at all, for that matter by) Milan Kundera; blunt, colorful, searing
and if you like Wide Sargasso Sea (my assumption if you are re-reading), Jean Rhys’ Good Morning, Midnight is stunning
thank you for today.


Somebody described Peace Like a River in the comments above and I second it. One of my favorite books of all time.
I read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and The Great Gatsby every summer.
I just finished reading My Antonia by Willa Cather today. I have been kicking myself for not having picked it up long ago since it has been on my mom’s bookshelf for years. I can’t wait to get my hands on another of Cather’s works now.
Completely agree with the person who said not enough people appreciate short stories. Stephen King, Alice Munro, and Guy De Maupassant all have several great collections each.


I’ve been a silent watcher of your blog for quite some time. This cake looks great.
Books to read, I definitely would go for Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, my favorite of these being “The Fiery Cross”.
Or something by Paulo Cohelo. Brida and Veronica Wishes To Die are great.


I agree with many of the suggestions already made here, and I won’t repeat them, so here are some that have not been mentioned yet: For anyone who loves food but also has a dark and perverse side, check out The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester; for more perversity, this time focusing on mythology and the underground dealings of the East India Company, read Lempriere’s Dictionary by Lawrence Norfolk; and if you like The Princess Bride movie, try the book by William Goldman–definitely not for children. Also, I just finished reading Catch-22. It illuminates the idiocy of the military (and by extension the government); subversive, sad, and brutally, blackly funny.


I love the sound of this cake! I’m in culinary school to become a natural chef and your blog is a phenomenal source of recipes to keep me inspired. This one is especially relevant because we just finished our baking coursework, where we covered using different flours and alternate sweeteners. I posted a galette recipe using spelt flour and honey instead of sugar.
And to chime in on the book discussion, I’m currently reading “Truth & Beauty,” also by Ann Patchett (who the last commenter mentioned). It’s an entralling read.

Chef Shoshana

I just finished off The Graveyard by Neil Gaiman. Delicious! Had to fight with the kids over who got it first!


The Red Tent by Anita Diamant — I’ve noticed that a few people have recommended it and I will gladly add my name to that list. This is one of my all time favorite books. It’s a well written story and a page turner that you won’t want to put down.
If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, A YEAR IN THE MERDE by Stephen Clarke is brilliant and has yet to be recommended. Stephen’s perspective on french culture (the cuisine, the wine, the people and the women) will have you laughing out loud. This was the best book recommendation I’ve been given in a while and, if you enjoy it, Stephen’s written a sequel!
Finally, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I fell in love with this book last summer. It’s one of the few books I have read twice. Not to be missed!!!


As an English Major in university, I’ve certainly read a large number of amazing (and not so amazing) books. Some of my favourites from the years are:
Atonement – Ian McEwan (the movie is wonderful but will never live up to the book)
Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Marakami (translated into English from the original Japanese)
The Garden Party and other stories – Katherine Mansfield
Some Great Thing – Colin McAdams
Good Omens – Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
This is just a shortlist, there are so many amazing authors (past and present) to explore.
Happy Reading!


One more:
Smilla’s Sense of Snow – Peter Hoeg


The Red Tent – Anita Diamant
The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer
Jitterbug Perfume – Tom Robbins
The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
The History of Love – Nicole Krauss
I better stop now, I could go on and on.


Completely different style than any you’ve been reading – fantasy: The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. Fantastic book. The sequel (The Paladin of Souls) is also amazing.


Books I loved:
The Glass Castle
Loving Frank (but do NOT Google the characters or you will ruin the book for yourself)
Eat, Memory
The Time-Traveler’s Wife
Vanishing Acts
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
How to Cook a Wolf
Home Cooking and Home Cooking II
Crossing to Safety
Jane Kenyon’s poetry


how fantastic! and sweet i hope.


I love your site and made your carrot cake last week for my husband and grandmother-in-law. She doesn’t like anything too sweeet and she thought it was “divine”, her words.
I noticed you liked The White Tiger! I love it also and am a huge Indian Lit fan. Keeping with that I think you would enjoy The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, absolutely gorgeous and a great innovative usage of language. For an Indian-American take anything by Jhumpa Lahiri is amazing, although I am partial to her short story collections especially the novella at the end of Unaccustomed Earth.
And finally one of my favorite books that is stunning is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger which will FINALLY be coming into theatres in mid-August.
Happy reading 🙂


Summer reading! Got time? A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth immerses you in 1950’s India, The Famished Road by Ben Okri in the peseant world of Nigeria, The dream of Scipio by Iian Pears in Avignon,France across the centuries. I think the extensive suggestions by 101 followers will fill up my summer, along with cooking of course! Thank you!


What a great recipe! For books…I am re-reading American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield (SO GOOD!), The Little Children and The Abstinence Teacher (both by Tom Perotta), any of the Patricia Cornwell Kay Scarpetta Books, Harvesting the Heart (or any other Jodi Picoult books), Dedication (the new Nicola Krauss/Emma McLaughlin book), Um Twilight series and the series beginning with Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty (We’re talkin’ one day per book…young adult literature, but really witty), Any David Sedaris…gosh, I could go on…my is under Sara Wutzke

Sally HP

And since you already dig the excellent Sherman Alexie…I think
“Flight: A Novel”
is his best one.
White Teeth, Brick Lane, Middlesex and Life of Pi are all wonderful.
Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro is disturbing but excellent.


The last two riveting before bed books I loved…
The Other Side of Paradise: A Memoir
by Staceyann Chin
Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer
by Tim Stark
thx for your blog!


In the interest of not rambling on forever about books, I’ll suggest one book that was new last year that I loved. “Beijing Coma” by Ma Jian. It was amazing, complex – a detailed look into the lives of the students that led the Tiananmen Square protests.

Haley J.

I recommend two books – 1: The Faith Club, a book about three women, a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew, who compare notes on their lives and faiths is on my bedstand waiting for me. 2: Also, Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. After researching super successful people, (Ex: Tiger Woods who started golfing at 18 mos and Bill Gates, who unlike 99.9% of highschool students in the 1960’s, had access to a computer!), Gladwell comes to the conclusion that hardwork and finding you passion early and focusing on it 24/7 are a lot more important than talent as indices for success. If he’d included an example of a highly successful blogger, he could easily have chosen you, Heidi.

Julie Erwin

Lebovitz is priceless-anyone who is not following him on twitter should. You don’t know what you are missing.
Heidi! Another great post! Thank you!
A SF writer who wrote
The Story of a Marriage. An Exquisite read.
The Water’s Lovely-mild thriller set in London. Fab.
The Secret of Lost Things. Set in the world of books in NYC. Each page is a treasure.
Hope this helps!


Oh my god, Kate, yes! The Power of One, Tandia (if you can find it here in the states, I’ve been told it’s hard to find)- both my favorite books and reread 50 million times (I’m prone to exaggeration, but it’s close!).
Also, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is amazing. I’d have to say I’ve read that I can’t count how many times as well.
Heidi, I love your site and your recipes, I’ve been making recipes from here for just about a year now and haven’t posted, but this whole book thing (which is my first love, even though cooking comes a close second!!) got me really excited. So thank you for the recipes, and now the books everyone!! I’m always looking for great books to read!!


I can’t recommend highly enough Wild Life by Molly Gloss.
It’s AMAZING. Quirky and completely fascinating.
I do so hope you read it and let us know what you thought… it’s very well-regarded in literary circles.

Larisa Gall

You’ve created quite a fun spontaneous booklist here for us all to enjoy as well, Heidi! I’ve already tucked a couple titles into my memory bank for exploration this summer…including David’s Sweet Life. I’ve been missing out, it sounds like. I’m sure this cake is just one of many fabulous recipes.
My own recommendations for light (but well written) summer fiction reads would be The Secret Life of Bees by Kidd and The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Rice.
HS: Thanks Lael, and congrats on the internship with Foodzie 🙂


I love reading! and i love so many of the books mentioned here. these are some great ones i’ve been unable to put down either recently or in the past year:
Purple Hibiscus- written by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie who also wrote ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ that others have mentioned- this is her first book so not as polished, but still a fantastic read. Heidi, please invent a recipe for jollof rice!
The Cloud Sketcher by Richard Rayner- strangely imagined and requires quite a lot of ‘the willing suspension of disbelief’ but is still a lovely glimpse into a world and country most people don’t know much about- Finland.
The Stoning of Soraya M by Freidoune Sahebjam- short, sharp and brutal, this is the true story of a woman who was stoned to death by an arab village due a jumped up charge of adultery by a husband who wanted to be rid of her. Was so painful to read but could not put it down.
Anything by Agatha Christie for a quick and fun reading escape while on the bus or train!
The Harry Potter books are a must for anybody who thinks that children’s books do not have anything to offer for adults. I love these books and reread them on average once a month!
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry- i felt at once miserable, uplifted and despairing on finishing this book, just loved it.
Funny Boy and Cinnamon Gardens by Shyam Selvadurai- being Sri Lankan these books resonate with me and are beautifully written.
The Road from Elephant Pass and The Giniralla Conspiracy by Nihal de Silva- another Sri Lankan author with a stunning imagination and very real books. You’re left wondering where the lines between fact and fiction were blurred!
The Jam Fruit Tree trilogy by Carl Muller- a Sri Lankan burgher, his books are hilarious with an undercurrent of darkness that is impossible to put down.
When Memory Dies by A Sivanandan- another great book by a great Sri Lankan tamil author.
now, wish i could find buckwheat flour so i could bake this cake and eat a piece while reading my latest book….


Nabokov’s Pale Fire beats Lolita by a long shot in my book! One of the most hilarious books ever written. (Word of advice: Don’t be put off by the “poem” at the start of the book. Its purpose will become clear as you read)


this cake looks nice
I couldn’t resist recommending one of my fave books Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson – and also love wide sargasso sea


I work in a bookstore and help manage the fiction section, so I can’t resist this request!
– Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
– Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff
– Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy (non-fiction and the writing is impeccable)
– The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugenides
– Willful Creatures, Aimee Bender (absurd/bizarre short stories, perfect for summer)
– The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (really, anything by her is a winner)
I’ve also been enjoying works by Lorrie Moore, including Anagrams.
Happy reading!


This sounds like a great recipe! I am a college student who is trying to teach myself to cook, and I love this site-people share wonderful recipes!
Some of my favorite books include:
Jane Eyre
The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Sons (AMAZING books; must-reads)
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (AMAZING)
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (GREAT book, esp. if you love dogs, like me)
All Philipa Gregory books
All Jodi Picoult books
The Curious Story of the Dog in the Nightime
All books by Jeff and Michael Shaara (all are historical fiction; most are about either the Civil War or WWI and WWII; I don’t usually like historical novels about wars, but all of their books are fantastic).
All of the books by Madeline L’Engle, esp. if you like science fiction and/or are a Christian, like me; I read them while I was growing up–they are exciting and have great morals


This recipe looks good.
Now, for the fiction:
Milroy the Magician–twisted and good
Both of Housenni’s books (Kite Runner, etc)
And I agree with the person above who recommends Inheritance of Loss
I also like Rohinton Mistry and Zadie Smith-great authors.

Willow Paule

I LOVED The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Perfect for summer. I also liked Julie and Julia, but you may have already read it. One of my favorite foodie books is Clementine in the Kitchen by Samuel Chamberlain. I also have just started reading The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler (the man behind Lemony Snicket, but this is for adults! v dark humor), Jeff in Venice; Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer, and The Book Thief.


I’m fond of mysteries and suspenseful sorts of books, myself. I enjoy Dan Brown’s books (Angels and Demons, et al) and the cat-themed mysteries written by Lilian Jackson Braun and Rita Mae Brown. There’s others, I’m sure, but those three authors are ones I just keep going back to again and again.
And by the by, that cake looks utterly wonderful – and I’m not even fond of buckwheat!


1. Cake recipe looks great, can’t wait to try.
2. FOR BECKS: Note that most of the baked good recipes on this site include healthy whole grain flours, but are not gluten-free. This is not a gluten-free site! Of course you can mix rice flour or any other gluten-free flour with the buckwheat and see how it turns out.
3. I am a life long bibliophile so I know you’re all going to think this is random but LONESOME DOVE by Larry McMurtry is one of the GREAT American novels. You don’t have to be interested in the American West to love this book. It was 800 pages and i was so, so, so sad for it to end.


I loved *Let’s Don’t go to the Dogs Tonight*

sarah smith gumataotao

I love your blog and I can’t resist adding some titles to the list of books:
The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh
Freedomland by Richard Price
King of Lies by John Hart
An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears
The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason
Mortals by Norman Rush
Fish, Blood and Bone and Waking Raphael, both by Leslie Forbes
The Names of Things, Life, Language, and Beginnings in the Egyptian Desert by Susan Brind Morrow
Tropic of Night by Michael Gruber
I’m addicted to and listen to many books on my iPod while working in my studio, cooking or working out. Recently I acquired a Kindle and find it a great thing to take along on my travels because I can “carry” so many more books! Between the iPod and Kindle I can read or listen constantly!


I LOVE your website. Thanks for all of your efforts and delicious recipes. As to books, I also belong to the “3 at a time” club. I joined ‘” and can’t believe how many I add weekly. Favorites: too many to mention. I love the Kellermans, anything they write. Also, Eat, Pray, Love was a fun read,and I’d love to be able to do that but that time has passed for me. As to food, how I miss the Indonesian Chinese food from Holland. Yummy!

Barbara Girga

curiosity scribbled the cat, by alexandra fuller


Can’t resist adding just one more: “The Sorrows of an American” by Siri Hvistedt. Cerebral, brooding, gorgeous novel about grief, loss, family, etc.
And now to try baking this cake. 🙂

sarah p

hi, I do not remember how i tumbled on to ur website, i think it was last week, you have a beautiful website, and now this one is absolutely too good…, ur suggestion of books, & that too fiction…, i love reading books i have bookmarked this page for my future reference and thought of making a list of all the books suggested so many of them and start reading them !!, I love ur blog u have so many veggie recipes…, as i am a vegetarian, i have recently started baking and thought i should try some of ur recipes, this buckwheat cake must try some time soon…, Oh! yes i remember now, i had been to a japanese restaurant and had miso soup(v) and i liked it, i wanted to what it is made of & how it is made…, that’s how i got into ur blog…, i also had a rice it was called firecracker rice in the menu, i am so interested in making it as it was very delicious, do you have any idea how to make it ? are their particular spices used in japan which they would have used in it….please


What a terrific request! I just put down “The Monsters of Templeton” by Lauren Goff and “Snow” by Orhan Parmuk. Both highly recommended. Probably my favorite recent book was “A Case of Exploding Mangoes.” (Can’t recall the author.) All time favorites would include “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, all of Nadine Gordimer’s novels, and (just one nonfiction!) “The Shadow of the Sun” by Ryszard Kapuscincki.

sarah p

I second Charlotte’s recommendation of
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Also loved Lost City Radio, by Daniel Alarcon. I’m currently reading Heat by Bill Burford, which is wonderful read if you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look at professional kitchens.


BIble– a collection of books, it is more interesting than any book…It has mystery, betrayal….Funny thing is it also talks about Sex in eccelestaties. People please read it…more than spiritual, its fun to know the things happened in real peoples lives


What a lot of bookworms read your blog! I’m liking the recommendations for good books to read. I thought I’d chip in with a few more…The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhnetsyn is an amazing book – when I was reading it I was torn between wanting to find out what happens and wanting to savour the beautiful writing.
I’ve just finished reading The Perfect Man by Naem Murr – a good story and well written.
Last year I read Northern Lights and the other books in the Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman – they’re absolute page turners and very imaginative. They’re aimed at adolescents/young people, so the language is not difficult. Great books nonetheless.
For a light read I’d recommend Alexander Macall Smith’s No. 1 ladies detective agency series – the characters are nice, nothing awful happens, and you get to learn a bit about another culture as well.


It’s been out for a while, but I recently read and enjoyed Barbara Kingsolver’s “Prodigal Summer”. I’m part way into “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese and have found it to be great so far.


Ooh, I just noticed Sigari’s suggestion and have to back up the Italo Calvino recommend. If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler is another great Calvino book.
If you want to read a very cerebral mystery, there’s also Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.
Milorad Pavic is also a really great author.
I must say, as an experimental fiction writer and a new member of the listserv, it is great to see the varied, international, and more avant-garde suggestions posted here! It gives me faith in the reading world.


Hello Heidi!
Thanks for your generous and beautiful blog!
I really want to try this recipe. Can you clarify what determines doneness for the cake? Should a tester come out clean?
I really love this brand of buckwheat, carried at Dean and Deluca in NYC and available via mail order:
I won’t recommend any more books, since it looks like you’ve got a year’s worth of recommendations already!


I am currently reading (and enjoying) 2666 by Robert Bolano.
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Hiruki Murakami is an excellent (albeit very strange book)
Ava by Carole Maso is beautiful though really sad
And if you want, you can check out my own book (shameless plug) Hangings by Nina Shope!


Cake looks great! Especially love the greek yogurt/maple topping idea.
Just read a Serpent’s Tale and it was very good, fast page turner minus the grocery store isle vibe. No clue who the author was b/c already loaned it out, but remember that she also wrote Mistress of the Art of Death, which I haven’t read.


Anything by Barbara Kingsolver
“The Bean Trees” is fabulous!
HS: I think that is still my favorite Barbara Kingsolver book. I must have read it three times.


I love your library memory. I went to a parochial grade school a block from our small town library and was lucky enough to be allowed to walk there at lunch and check out books whenever I wanted. The library has always been one of my favorite places.
The book that I’ve read in the past couple of years that comes to mind immediately when I think of a story that transports you to another place is The 13th Tale by Diane Setterfield. It’s a book for people who love books, espcially 19th century British fiction, which I have a weakness for, as the plot has motherless children, mysterious orphans, benefactors who may not be who they seem to be, etc. I just loved it!
I also love Neil Gaiman, who really knows how to tell a story! And about a million other books, but will resist the temptation to begin listing them.


The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Lamb by Christopher Moore
Love your blog!


I love buckwheat flour!
I’ve been a vegetarian my whole life (I consume milk related foods but not egg) and I was wondering, in this recipe is their a way I can replace all that egg? Maybe with silken tofu?
Thank you
P.S:I love this website!


The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. By far one of the best books I have read.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Also amazing (and admittedly I liked it better than Love in the Time of Cholera).
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Historical fiction – she wrote what she thought to be the life story of Jacob’s only daughter (who I think is only mentioned in one line in the Bible), which is an amazing story of women, motherhood, growing up, and the power of love. Plus I love historical fiction 🙂


my list would have to include (not in any order of preference):
Nature Girl (any of his books actually)by Carl Hiassen
The Friday Night Knitting Club and Comfort Food (both by Kate Jacobs)
Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman
Life of Pi (can’t recall the author’s name)
Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald (good book and I’m partial to it because I did the photo for the cover 😉
and my perennial favorite:
La Femme Cachée by Colette
on the non-fiction front I would recommend:
Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite by Paul Arden


This is my first post even though I read your blog all the time. We had a Bookmobile in our neighborhood when I was growing up and we used to just love getting our books from there. The best book I’ve read so far this year is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Also, for just pure fun, the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich is really great – very funny and always puts me in a good mood.


One of the best books I have read in years:
The Oath by Khassan Baiev.
It’s about a Chechnyan/muslim doctor and the Hippocratic Oath and his experiences saving people and losing people during the recent Russian/Checnyan Conflict. Full of lessons of love, integrity, sadness, war, culture, and more.


It looks delicious! I love the fork design!
For a book steeped in Bay Area and California History, I suggest “Divisadero” by Michael Ondaatje (he also wrote “The English Patient”).


Huge fan of your website, but this is my first post! Love the book recs!
I strongly recommend my favorite book: The Bone People by Keri Hulme
Booker-Prize award winning & only novel by Hulme. Rich, haunting story with masterful use of language. It opens in poetry, so you just flow with it for a while and it all comes together. Enjoy!


Have you read Night Train to Lisbon?
And everything by Joanne Harris? I just love her books. Currently re-reading her “Five Quarters of Orange” for our book club.


Just finished and loved The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. It’s the story of an Indian family who immigrates to America, told through two generations. Such an amazing novel about how we identify ourselves once we leave our native place.
On deck for me is The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. I’ve heard good things about this story, which takes place in Biblical times and chronicles the relationships of a very close group of women.


I love all cakes that call for egg yolks. I like to eat egg whites at meals and then get all my cholesterol at once, in dessert. I think the most I ever used at once was 7, between cake and icing.
This looks beautiful!


ANYTHING by Paul Auster, they’re ALL great. but particularly Oracle Night, and The Book of Illusions. Oracle Night took me to another place I when I finished it, it took me about a half hour to step back into my own reality.


I remember when I first moved out of home I had no TV or radio, so I went to the 2nd hand book store and bought books that had been turned in to TV shows or movies. Star Trek kept me glued to the pages all night!
In recent times I have started collecting recipe books & DVDs of all the TV cooking shows, like the Jamie Oliver collection (UK), Ian Hewitt (Australia) and some I found on the Internet including 101 cookbooks.

Jessica Igor

I realize that my comment is not in keeping with your topic today (please forgive me). I was wondering if you have recipes that you think are especially good for kids. I have an almost 9 month old. He’s still on the pureed/chunky fruits and veggies but will soon be eating actual recipes. I have some ideas but would love to hear you blog about kids foods. I hate that restaurants only seem to serve chicken fingers and pizza for kids! I hope to buck the trend as much as possible and have him eat the food we’re eating.


Carol, I think the book you are referring to is Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. One of my favorites. I would also highly recommend his second novel: So Brave, Young, and Handsome. Other fiction reads I’ve enjoyed lately have included Silence by Shusaku Endo, Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent, and I’ve most recently entered the wonderful world of Graham Greene.


what a great idea! i’m always looking for the next read. i’m heading to th jersey shore in a few weeks and now I have a few titles to check out & bring. thx
couple suggestions:
italo calvino- the baron in the trees, and all his other books
laurie moore- anagrams, who will run the frog hospital?, and all other books
salman rushdie, the ground beneath her feet. it’s a fictional account of an Indian rock star, it’s long but rushdie-lite- all the gorgeous language but only half the gravity of his other novels

MIzz Meghan

I couldn’t believe how fascinated I was with “Losing Mum and Pup” by Christoper Buckley….almost lost my backpack because I was mesmerized by that true tale.
Am now equally taken with Paul Theroux’ Dark Star Safari…africa, whew!


I couldn’t believe how fascinated I was with “Losing Mum and Pup” by Christoper Buckley….almost lost my backpack because I was mesmerized by that true tale.
Am now equally taken with Paul Theroux’ Dark Star Safari…africa, whew!


Wow…buckwheat cake…sounds yummy. I love cakes that aren’t overly sweet, so I’ll definitely have to try this one out!
As far as books go, I’m constantly reading about 4 books at a time, so it’s always hard for me to recommend books. A few of my all time favorite novels though, would be:
The Lover – Marguerite Duras
Running in the Family – Michael Ondaatje
The Sixteen Pleasures – Robert Hellenga
Five Quarters of the Orange – Joanne Harris
The French Lieutenant’s Woman – John Fowles
A Thread of Grace – Mary Doria Russell
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
A Separate Peace – John Knowles
Happy Reading!


Gee, if you don’t have buckwheat flour and use all purpose, I’m not sure what’s unique about this cake. I guess the rum kind of makes it a cinnamon & rum cake if only all purpose flour is used instead of the unique buckwheat, One cup of sugar is kind of a surprise too, but this is from someone else’s cookbook and not from Heidi’s kitchen magic wonderland. Few people are commenting on the cake and most are waxing literary about their favorite books (which is not why I come here personally, but a few of the comments are indeed interesting). Cooking is more interesting for these blog comments and is what I value the most. Alas!


I just returned to the USA after teaching English and living in Taiwan for a year. Having discovered your blog while overseas, in a place with a cuisine that didn’t do much to stimulate or inspire my palate, I dove head-first into cooking…a new development for me!…and haven’t stopped since. Finding ingredients aside from fresh fruit and vegetables often proved impossible, and I had to make some novice edits at times, but I survived and upon my return to the States have been cooking like crazy with all of the previously-missing ingredients.
Aside from cooking, teaching, and tourism…Taiwan left me with a lot of reading time. A few favorites:
The Language of Baklava (I found a second-hand “early release” copy in my dormitory, don’t know if it ever officially hit bookstores–it’s one woman’s childhood memoir through food)
The Autobiography of King Henry VIII (Margaret George–reads like a diary instead of a dense historical recount; she also wrote Memoirs of Cleopatra, which I equally enjoyed)
War and Peace (Tolstoy–seriously worth the effort if you can handle it!)
And Pretty Birds (Scott Simon–a novel about Sarajevo, a city that captured my heart and soul and most of my academic focus).
Thanks for all of your hard work, and your efforts to share with us all! Cheers.


The recipe looks fabulous.
I’m an avid reader too. As far as book recs, I just read “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer for the 2nd time (we chose it for our book club). Amazingly moving.
For lighter, engaging reading with some romance, I recommend the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.
Life of Pi is a great quick read that someone already mentioned.
I loved the “Time Traveler’s Wife” – so engaging. I literally couldn’t put it down and read all 600 pages or so in about a day.
If you like historical fiction, “Here be Dragons” by Sharon Kay Penman is SO great – it’s about 12th century Wales. The Agony and the Ecstacy is another great work of historical fiction of the same quality.
Anything Jane Austen is always great.
“Eat, Pray, Love” is another must read.
And I just read Ruth Reichl’s books – they’re all great and it’s fun to have the recipes sprinkled throughout. Garlic and Sapphires is fun because it captures the time when she accepts a job as NYTimes food critic and is hitting all the restaurants in disguise.
I could go on and on!!! 🙂
Deana (

Deana Gunn

I think my favourite reads this year were
Snowflower and the secret fan
The Glass Castle
The zookeepers wife


Recovering alcoholics in the house there fore not alcohol in the house. And yes i know about the alcohol cooking out however those of you who know what some go thru to recover from this disease will do anything not to trigger a loved one who is petrified of going back to the bottle. Somehow I don’t think apple juice will stand up to rum but if anyone knows an alternative I would appreciate it. Thank you.


Fantastic post. I love these & made a great list for myself from the comments. Such intelligent readers of great blogs such as this, don’t you think?
Cake sounds wonderful; I love buckwheat.
I wonder if buckwheat honey on top would be too much….
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Poison (Kathryn Harris)
This Organic Life (non-fiction)
The School of Essential Ingredients (super-easy read, but delicious)
Truth and Beauty (Ann Patchett)
On my immediate list:
The Handmaid’s Tale (I didn’t like The Robber Bride)
The Book Thief


Adam Gopnik’s ‘Paris to the Moon’, ‘Three Cups of Tea’ by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin, ‘Arthur and George’ by Julian Barnes, ‘Hi Fi’ and ‘How to be Good’ by Nick Hornby, are some of the books that -off the top of my head- I remember enjoying very much.
I absolutely adore Adam Gopnik’s prose and mind, I admire Greg Mortenson’s work in Pakistan, I remember sitting a whole weekend in the lounge reading Julian Barnes and not wanting to finish the rivetting depiction of facts, and about Nick Hornby, how can anyone see people so clearly….and he is so funny!
Anyhow, I hope this helps!
Regards from Spain


Yum, dense and fragant french cake! My appetite for literature is even larger than my appetite for dessert. My favorite author is the Argentinian Julio Cortázar, and right now I’m in love with Hermann Hesse (Demian is the most beautiful book ever). I like James Joyce too (Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), and I read a lot of poetry. Any anthology of the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska is worth it.


Always love your blog & recipes. I often pass them along to friends too. The bounty is not as rich here in Florida as it is for you. But sometimes reading your recipes is enough to sate my palate and get my creative juices flowing!
If you haven’t yet read either of Wally Lamb’s books, do check them out. Barbara Kingsolver is a wonderful storyteller. My favorite of hers is Poisonwood Bible. Dorothy Bryant may be out of print but she’s from the bay area so you may find some of her work. She is quite the prolific writer and each of her books were very different from eachother.


All the way from Rome, Italy…thanks for all your great recipies! I’ll definetly try this one with my mom’s fig compote…
Bookwise, try “Mosquito” by Roma Tierne…ok, so I’m partial, my dad translated it into italian, but it’s a great book in english too!

Irene Duranti

The Man Who Was Thursday — Chesterton
…exciting and fast paced!


I’ve been re-reading Mary Renault recently: The King Must Die… (about Theseus) and Fire From Heaven (Alexander the Great). Food doesn’t get much of a mention however!!
Of course, if you’ve never read Fanny Craddock’s biog – ‘Something’s Burning’ – do try and get a copy, it’s a hoot…


“Water for Elephants” is an amazing tale with characters that are so believable. Insight both into the world of circus and the elderly– strange mix, but it works!
“The History of Love” by Nicole Krauss -one where many characters, seemingly separate, collide at the end.
“Saffron Kitchen” two story lines, present day in England and 1970s Iran– beautiful, bittersweet story of a woman’s desire for freedom and her daughters desire to understand.


OMG, Three Cups of Tea, how could I forget!!! Did anybody else cry a little at the end?? And also 1000 Splendid Suns–I loved the Kite Runner, but the follow up is even better! And the Thursday Next series! Oh, and I’m reading “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson right now–it’s not fiction and is definitely not new, but it is surprisingly beautifully written considering the subject matter. It’s a good accompaniment to Prodigal Summer as the latter has one character named after Ms. Carson and another who carries on her legacy.
I could go on forever, but instead I will ask if anybody here uses GoodReads? It’s a neat way to share book recommendations with friends!
I’m so excited I have a long flight tomorrow so I can just sit and read!


If you haven’t read “Life Of Pi”, then you really, really, really must! 😉 It’s in my top 5 favorite ever, and I have read my fare share of books over time.
And the cake looks delicious, as always! 😉


Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, hands down the best relaxing foodie read that’s not strictly a cookbook. Telling and touching stories and essays for all.


And how could I forget “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov?! Forget what you’ve heard about it, and just go read it. A much better story and better writing than I ever expected.


Upon hearing buckwheat, we don’t think cake, so this is very unique.

The Duo Dishes

Funny, I was looking up a recipe for this the other day…
As to books, people recommended many good things, or they’d remind me of other things that I want to say!
As the fastest reader in a family of fast readers, I’ve read a fair amount. So here’s a few categories:
People stories: anything by Fannie Flagg (recommend “Welcome To the World Baby Girl!”), and Rosamunde Pilcher’s “The Shell-Seekers”.
Fantasy: Peter S. Beagle’s “The Last Unicorn” is my out and out favorite!
Historical Fiction: anything by Sharon Kay Penman (“While Christ and His Saints Slept” is my favorite — about Stephen and Maude’s war in England 12th Centry), and the Baroque Trilogy by Neil Stephenson (it’s HUGE as a warning, but fantastic — just finished rereading it.)
I hope you enjoy your massive amount of summer reading!


My favorites are classics, mostly: The Magic Mountain (Mann), Madame Bovary (Flaubert), War and Peace (Tolstoy), Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky), then anything my Michael Ondaatje, and I just finished Journey in Ladakh (Andre Harvey), which was awesome.
I love your website, and feel that slowly I am becoming a much better, and braver, cook. You make it look so easy, and so fun


An absolutely beautiful book is: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s heartbreaking, heartwarming and more importantly, brings back one of the great tragedies of the 20th century that our distracted minds have long forgotten – the dreadful Biafra War. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.

Sheena in France

The Sea – John Banville
This is a great post as I am needing some reading inspiration these days.
I am categorically opposed to cinnamon in deserts. Is there any other spice that you could recommend for a recipe like this. I was thinking, maybe, cardamom, but am not too sure how that would jive with the buckwheat…


Wow, 2 of my favorite things. Books and food. Will make the cake this long weekend. Probably berry compote. We have fabulous blue, black and raspberries in season now.
For books, I am currently reading Mudbound by Hillary Jordan about 2 families in the South post WWII. Great character development that taps into the bitterness and angst of the time.
I would also recommend Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins. Beautifully written book. Think magical realism in the US. Touches on how the era of the Manhatten Project touched us all.
Love your blog. It brightens my day!

Brenda Claybrook

A good summer read: “The Robber Bride” by Margaret Atwood (of “The Handsmaid Tale” fame, another gem).
I just finished Obama’s “Dreams From My Father.” I had to stop every few pages to ponder on the fact that the author is also my president.
And finally, “Woodswoman” by Anne Labastille. Also, the next in that series “Beyond Black Bear Lake” now published as “Woodswoman II.” I’ve drawn a lot of strength from her stories of living/surviving in the isolated Adirondacks.
I loved the other posts, happy reading!


Loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society–Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany– and anything else by Frances Mayes–also On Rue Tatin, Tarte Tatin and all of her cookbooks (Susan Hermann Loomis).

Chan Kuhn

This sounds delicious! AND…I just so happen to have some strawberry-rhubarb compote that needs to be eaten, along with some homemade frozen yogurt!
As far as summer reading goes, you really must read “Prodigal Summer” by Barbara Kingsolver–“Poisonwood Bible” ain’t got nothin’ on this one! But come to the East Bay where it’s sunnier–the July fog just won’t cut it as a setting for this amazing novel! I read it almost every summer, trying to read it slowly to absorb the beautiful language and imagery. Also, if you haven’t already, read “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by her as well. Non-fiction about her family’s adventure of eating almost 100% locally for a year, and it will honestly make you laugh out loud and maybe even cry in some spots. I truly believe this world would be a better place if only we all read more Barbara Kingsolver!
For good food fiction, I second the recommendations of “Like Water For Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel (I’ve only read it in English as my Spanish is pretty weak), and “Mistress of Spices.” Non-food related, also consider “Kabbalah: A Love Story.” I don’t know what your tastes are and that might be a little on the edge for some people, but I thought it was just lovely. “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle is a classic and has been one of my favorites since I was about 10 years old, and each time I read it I’m amazed that we consider this a children’s book. To really knock your socks off, read the whole series that it starts. “The Alchemist” by Paolo Coelho is also excellent.
I’m excited to try some of the other recommendations here as well!


Last month I found “Clementine in the Kitchen” the first 1943 edition at a ratty bookstore in Antigua. It was so old that the book is riddled with holes from being eaten by insects. I love this book. The recipes are delicious. The book is now in my kitchen with all my ecletic cookbooks and Clementine in the Kitchen immediately became my go-to cookbook when I want to impress my husband or our guests.


Heidi, I love you! I think you somehow manage to read my mind as this is not the first time I’ve stood in my pantry wondering what to do with an ingredient only to load up your site and see a new recipe featuring it. Last week it was sweet potato, this week it’s buckwheat flour! I had bought a bag of buckwheat flour to make your Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookies (delicious) and have been wondering what else I could make with it. This cake sounds *perfect* for a dinner party I’m headed to on the weekend and I can even bake it up in the new tart pan I found on sale a couple of weeks ago and again have been wondering what to do with. This is a most fortuitous blog post–thanks! 🙂
PS. The sweet potato falafel were amazing and I also won raves for your curried egg salad the other night. This is absolutely the best food blog out there, hands down.

Lynne P

– provocative: Three Cups of Tea (non-fiction) – the writing isn’t fantastic but it sure is eye opening – it’s about an American man who builds schools in Afghanistan, 1000 Splendid Suns – better than Kite Runner (perhaps the female perspective?)
– nice stories: Secret Life of Bees, #1 Ladies Detective Agency series, Elm Creek Quilts series
– classics: The Caine Mutiny, To Kill a Mockingbird, Cry the Beloved Country
– also Eat, Pray, Love which people either love or hate!


Oh, don’t get me started on books!! I worked in a bookstore for 8 years and there are just too many to mention. I checked out “White Tiger” from the library a few days ago and am looking forward to it, but right now am reading “How to Pick a Peach” by Russ Parsons for a foodie book club I started on my blog. I warmly invite any other bookworms here to stop by and join in the book club if interested!
HS: Russ is great. I was lucky enough to be on a panel with him last year. Quite possibly the nicest person ever.

mlle noelle of simmer down

If you are in the mood for some heart wrenching fiction… may I suggest My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Just finished it and I also recommend it because the movie will be coming out this summer!
I would also like to suggest a great book/ cookbook by a chef here in Houston. It is called Empty Bottle Moments by Clive Berkman. It contains stories about days when he owned a restaurant and his experiences in the food world and includes some of his most amazing recipes!!!


Heidi, you should get a good reads account ( and people who enjoy your blog can also see what you are reading/have read. I would love to see what some of you other favorite are.
Funny you should mention it Marci – I have one. I use it to keep track of books I want to read, and also to get ideas from friends as well. I’m not great about checking my messages and stuff there though.


I love Donna Tartt (the Secret History and The Little Friend).
A book I read recently and LOVED was in the same vein as The Secret History – Tana French’s The Likeness..great read.


I second the recommendations for Laurie Colwin, Carol Shields , Amy Bloom and Michael Chabon – I really liked The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.
I love anything by Anne Tyler, especially The Accidental Tourist and Ladder of Years; Richard Ford esp. The Sportswriter and Lorrie Moore. I believe an anthology has just been published of her short stories. I just finished The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller and am now reading The Sorrows of an American by Siri Hustvedt (Paul Auster’s wife). It’s her latest book and I recommend her previous three., The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, The Blindfold and What I loved. Reading, eating, it’s hard to pick which I like the most. I tend to do both at once, which I know is not supposed to be good for one’s digestion……….


What a wonderful idea! I’ll be sure to read through the comments here. I would recommend:
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel by Susanna Clarke–a wonderful book about magic in 19th century Great Britain
The Forgery of Venus–Michael Gruber
Lulu in Marrakesh–Diane Johnson
The Night Villa–Carol Goodman
The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo–Stieg Larsson
Currently I’m reading The Rose of Sebastopol by Katherine McMahon
P.S. Here’s another tasty buckwheat cake recipe!

Sarah Breeze

Lovely, especially the traditional criss-cross detailing. I have to say I’m partial to Buckwheat Gateau Breton made with Anson Mills buckwheat flour. Before my mouth and nose met this flour I barely cared about buckwheat.
Glad to see the recipe reach more people. While it’s not a ‘cake’ by American standards, it’s an amazing way to highlight a gorgeous, particularly flavoured flour.

shuna fish lydon

Not fiction, but I loved Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson. Not at all what I expected and it opened up a whole world I didn’t know about in Pakistan.
I’m so glad I discovered your website. The recipes inspire me to get outside my box (of chicken nuggets) and explore the world.


I loved the Kite Runner. It’s a great book. You will not be able to put it down.


OH! And as far as books go:
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
I LOVE that magical book about food, life and love.


The recipe is intriguing. Thanks for suggesting substitute varieties of flour, in particular a substitute for Buckwheat. I’m allergic to buckwheat. Where can I buy Teff?
HS: HI David, you can find it at some natural foods stores (although I would call first)…or you can order it directly from a company like The Teff Company.

David Teague

OK BOOK LOVERS…help me find this might have been on the NYT best seller list about a decade ago. The narrator is a pre-teen girl. It tells the story of her teenage older brother’s flight from (i think) Minnesota to (I think) North Dakota after he kills someone (I think accidently). It is a motherless family I think there is a 3rd child the dad takes the remaining family to the road to search for the missing brother. The author is male. WE READ IT AND LOVED IT LONG AGO. I WANTED TO READ IT AGAIN, AND FOLLOW UP ON THE AUTHOR. I BELIEVE IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN HIS FIRST NOVEL THANKS FOR THE HELP. BTW we have a small organic farm and grow buckwheat so this recipe is a special treat !


I will definitely try this – I love buckwheat. I’ve only had buckwheat pancakes and waffles – so I’m intrigued to try this.
Heidi – just wanted to say I love your recipes and your book. Last night I made the garbanzo burgers (a favorite) and tonight my housemate looking through the book to try out another recipe. You bring so much inspiration to our house and our meals. Thank you for sharing your healthy recipes.


I love the pretty pattern that the fork print makes on the top as it bakes! I would have never thought to add that, but it’s a beautiful touch!
I just finished reading The Girls by Lori Lansen and it’s a pretty unique, touching novel. Also, Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani – who is my favorite author and I highly recommend all of her other books. Other than that, I haven’t been reading novels, but light-hearted mysteries because I love my brain ticking away trying to figure out “whodunnit?”


I really enjoy reading The Gift by the Sufi poet Hafiz. It is a nice one to just open up at any page and soak in the beauty and wisdom.

Marissa Makes

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.


So many great books listed here!
I’m currently reading Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum and it’s haunting.
One of the best I’ve read this year is Let Me In by John Lindqvist.


Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Unaccustomed Earth’.
All of her book are delicious, this is her newest. She is lyrical and beautiful. It’s so easy to get lost in her writing…perfect for summer!


“Martha” had a Breton Butter Cake as one of her “desserts of the month” a few years back. It has become a staple recipe in my kitchen. I’m looking forward to trying this version.


Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Unaccustomed Earth’.
All of her book are delicious, this is her newest. She is lyrical and beautiful. It’s so easy to get lost in her writing…perfect for summer!


I love fiction and I love to read. Since having my second child I don’t read nearly as much as I would like. The first book that popped into my head is The Life of Pi. I loved that one so much.


These are beautiful books:
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells
The Secret Life of Bees by Kidd
or anything by Barbara Kingsolver.


Try reading Palimpsest by Catherynne Valente 🙂 Absolutely gorgeous book.


Heidi! I’m a huge fan of your blog and often make your recipes. I wasn’t much of a cook until this year when I joined a CSA. Now I need all of the inspiration I can get to make it through all of the wonderful vegetables before they wither in my fridge. So, thank you!
Read THE AWAKENING by Kate Chopin. My absolute favorite. It will stir your soul.


I just finished
The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton.
She has a wonderful way of describing place and character – perfect summer reading.


I love Corelli’s Mandolin and Birds Without Wings, both by Louis deBernieres.
Can’t wait to try the cake! I


Fiction: Till we have Faces by C.S. Lewis
Mystery: Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
That cake sounds unique (in a good way)!


Oh try Two Rivers by T. Greenwood! A lovely lovely book…
now to find buckwheat flour….


Must make this cake. Looks wonderful.
Best books I’ve read lately are The Book Thief (Zusak), Middlesex (Eugenides), and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Larsson).


I’m currently reading:
The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak
I checked it out from the library and put it on my new eReader! It’s a fabulously well weaved story line.
Recently Read (and all great):
The Age of Turbulence – Alan Greenspan
I Want To Buy A Vowel – John Weller
The Hungry Ocean – Linda Greenlaw
Spanish Fly – Will Ferguson
Love your recipes since the day I discovered your frittata 🙂


On Beauty by Zadie Smith, just about to start Wise Children…i’m happy to see someone recommended that.
Also thanks for so many wonderful recipes. Although this is my first comment, I make one of your recipes almost every week and have never made one I didn’t love! Thank you.


First, I love your site! As far as reading goes; I am all over the map. The most current ones I have read are:
City of Falling Angels- John Berendt
The Gold Coast- Nelson DeMille
The Perfect Scent-Chandler Burr
The Monster of Florence-Douglas Preston
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel -Haruki Murakami
The Shadow of the Wind: A Novel -Carlos Ruiz Zafon
And I love, love, love anything written by co-authors Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child!


If you haven’t read Como Agua Para Chocolate/Like Water for Chocolate, you definitely should. I’ve only read it in Spanish, but I know there are translations. There are recipes between chapters.
For short stories, I love Jhumpa Lahiri’s. Her novel, The Namesake, was excellent as well.
Keep up the wonderful blog. It’s a great resource. I have you bookmarked and my friends and I talk about you and your wonderful recipes at our weekly knitting sessions.


I’m really into Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. She is an amazing story teller and I am immediately transported into her books. I have read: Arranged marriage,Sister of my heart, The mistress of spices (Heidi, I think you would love this one), and The vine of desire. Thanks for your recommendations. Happy reading!


What a lovely idea. I look forward to going back through this list all summer. For food + fiction, I just finished _The School of Essential Ingredients_ by Erica Bauermeister. I love nothing more than a beautifully-written brisk read and it fit those criteria perfectly.


You might want to look at “A Table in the Tarn” by Orlando Murrin. Living, Eating and Cooking in Rural France.
Great photos, excellent recipies and the Manoir de Reynaudes is awesome. It’s both a storybook and a cookbook.


Check out Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. Both create amazingly rich, haunting worlds that you’ll lose yourself in.
Also, on the off chance that you haven’t, do yourself a favor and read Home Cooking and More Home Cooking by the late great Laurie Colwin. If I were told right now that I would die tomorrow, much of this day would be spent in bed with my husband, drinking tea and reading Laurie Colwin.


If you’d like to mix adventure with cooking, read Patrick O’Brien’s sea stories. The film ‘Master and Commander’ was based on two of them.
Once you’re hooked on those, see if you can find “Lobscouse and Spotted Dog” by Anne Chotzinoff and Lisa Grossman-Thomas. They were mother and daughter (Anne, sadly, passed away a few years ago) and they are entertaining, skilled, funny and will cook anything. It’s a cookbook that you’ll read like a novel.


Wise Children by Angela Carter is a really delightful read. Also, Angel by Elizabeth Taylor, The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch.

Lindy Leech

A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion. This is the book I go back to most often.
Some other novels: A Personal Matter by Kenzaburo Oe, The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, The Collected Stories by Amy Hempel, Disgrace by JM Coetzee and anything by WG Sebald.
You will LOVE these.


The Plague is my most favorite book of all time. My current fave reads include *anything* by Haruki Murakami, including his non-fiction. I have re-read The Poinsonwood Bible probably 4 or 5 times, so that’s a winner. Oh, and most anything by Camus or Orwell.


The best book I have read (twice) recently is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. My spouse and I read it out loud to each other, which I highly recommend.
I read Kavelier and Clay and loved that too. Middlesex was pretty good.
I am currently starting Death Kit by Susan Sontag. You don’t learn about this one in school, and I can’t wait to get into it.


Just last night I finished The Girl the Dragon Tattoo (Stieg Larsson), a fascinating murder mystery with an intricate plot and memorable characters set in Sweden, written by a Swede. It just gets better the more you read. The word is that the sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire, due out this summer is even better.
Thanks for all your inspiring recipes!


As a card carrying member of the “must have at least three books in progress at all times” club, I love this topic. I also was excited to see that I have read over 50% of all the books mentioned… maybe, it actually means, I need to get a life. Hmmm. Right now, I am on The History of Knowledge (van Doren), Ishmael (Quinn) and How to Cook Everything Veggie (Bittman). Past favorites: anything by Tom Robbins, Michael Pollan or Bill McKibben, The Mists of Avalon (Zimmer Bradley), The Art Spirit (Henri), My Antonia (Cather) and A Prayer for Owen Meany (Irving).
Thanks for the great topic Heidi!


using buckwheat cake in a sweet cake is an innovative idea……sounds delicious..!!! must try at home now


Oh, books! Here are a few I’ve loved recently: A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving), The Toughest Indian in the World (Sherman Alexie), Red Dirt: Growing up Okie (by a fellow San Franciscan, Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz), The Mammoth Cheese (set on a cheesemaking farm, can it get any better? Sheri Holman), The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini), Crescent: A Novel (about an American Iraqi chef in LA, complete with recipes…Diana Abu-Jaber), and, if you haven’t read them yet, The Interpreter of Maladies (Jhumpa Lahiri) and The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver) are two of my faves.


The best books I’ve read recently are Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta. They are all insanely fascinating!

¡Yo Soy Liz!

If you like short stories, any volume by William Trevor is wonderful. He writes with compassion for the foibles of his characters. Muted and spare prose but it will resonate with you for days afterwards.
By the way, I really enjoy your blog.

Cha sen

Growing up we didn’t have much money. The library was like a pot of gold! I carried home huge piles of books constantly. One of my favorites then, and now, is The Phantom Tollbooth.
More adult reads I recommend:
Everything is Illuminated, John Updike’s Rabbit Run series, and The Corrections

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

“The Book of Lost Things”…. John Connolly


I’ve never posted before, but wanted to tell you that your brocolli crunch salad went down brilliantly, as did the carrot and walnut cookies AND the carrot/banana cake which I don’t think I made correctly but still tasted lovely!
If you haven’t read Birdsong by Sebastian Faulkes you should, it’s amazing and even better because it’s like 2 kinds of book in one.
HS: Glad you are liking the recipes Charis. 🙂


OH! If you’ve never read any Carol Shields, she’s awfully good.
Sorry for my creative spelling.


So, so, so delicious! I love buckwheat so much. I have a hard time choosing “favorite” books because I’m such a bookworm that choosing one hurts. But the best read I’ve had this year so far was Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare book. Such fun.


I second Megs on Kavalier and Clay. My recent favs are the under-40 crowd – Foer (I loved Everything is Illuminated) and Eggers (A Heartbreaking etc) and Chabon (he must be over 40 by now.) Nonfiction-wise, I seem to have fallen into a thicket of food memiors – Reichl, Buford (I loved Heat), Jay Rayner.
A weird memoir I loved: Pretty Girl in Crimson Rose by Sandy Balfour – globetrotting journalist explores his expat identity through an obscure sort of crossword puzzle. That may be the best book I’ve read this year.


My two favorite book recs are The Little Friend by Donna Tartt and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.
Can’t wait to try this recipe!


a couple friends and I just formed a little book club of sorts and one of the books we have decided on is “The White Tiger”. I have not read Camus’s “The Plague” but I did read “The Stranger” and was not a fan.


I’ve always loved reading too, and I’m usually reading a few different things at once. Right now, those are My Life in France and Local Flavors, and I just finished The Simple Art of Murder.
Baltasar and Blimunda was a dreamy kind of book in the magical realism style, but in that genre, I really loved The Hummingbird’s Daughter.
In the last year, I most appreciated reading Where Shall We Go for Dinner and In Cold Blood.
Find me on Goodreads!


Beautiful Children is a great book, I read it a few months ago.
Special Topics In Calamity Physics is another great one, I can’t remember the author at the moment.
That cake looks great!
HS: I have beautiful Children right here on my desk.


i second madelaine’s recommendation of maile meloy. great author!
i also really enjoyed “white teeth” by zadie smith and very much enjoyed “fall on your knees” by ann-marie macdonald. i didn’t realize it was an oprah book club choice, but either way, don’t let that ruin your judgment! 😉


The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy is an old fashion adventure.
Across the Nightingale floor by LIan Hearn is a wonderful and exciting medieval adventure.
The Secret Lives of Bees is a beautiful book if you haven’t read it.
Thank you for such a wonderful food blog. You have educated me and helped me take steps to healthier eating and have adventures in trying new foods. I really wouldn’t have tried any of you recipes if it wasn’t for you luscious photography.


This looks delicious! I love a dense savory cake.
Just finished Netherland–especially fun for anyone living in NYC, beautifully and classically written.
I’m in the middle of French Women Don’t Get Fat which I LOVE! I’m learning to appreciate all kinds of new flavors and foods, and eat only what I enjoy.
And I’m moving on to Bonfire of the Vanities for a good summer read 🙂

Sarah B

Oh, gosh. That buckwheat cake looks like a winner…and as for my favorite book, it’s Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. The characters were so developed that I had dreams about them after I finished the book. And it’s the only book I’ve ever read twice, because I loved it so much!


Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
House for Mister Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
brooklyn follies by paul auster
atmospheric disturbances by rivka galchen
frenchman’s creek by Daphne Du Maurier- as well as rebecca
in defense of food- michael pollan


“Shadow of the Wind by Carol Ruiz Zafon.” I posted that, but his name is Carlos. Oops!


Shadow of the Wind by Carol Ruiz Zafon. A Spanish author, I have recommended it to several people of varying tastes and everyone has loved it. It’s unputdownable.
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing. She says things that you’ve felt and never put words to. Doris Lessing in general is so great.
Thanks for the great post as always!!


Not fiction, but I read Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit in December and January and it is really smart and wonderful — all about walking and its history, from biological/evolutionary stuff to social/intellectual/literary stuff. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog by Dylan Thomas (short stories) is delicious, just so well-phrased all the way through, wonderful to read bits and pieces of aloud. Life: A User’s Manual by Georges Perec is also really excellent — the interlinked stories of the inhabitants of one apartment building in Paris, but also lots more than that — puzzles and games and lists and painterly detail and oh, it is so good!


Really interesting recipe. I was a reading fiend as a child. My mom would take me to the library every week over summer vacation, I’d get a huge pile of books and finish them all within a couple days!

ashley (sweet & natural)

Really interesting recipe. I was a reading fiend as a child. My mom would take me to the library every week over summer vacation, I’d get a huge pile of books and finish them all within a couple days!

ashley (sweet & natural)

I agree with LoverFeast on Pillars of the Earth. I’d also add Sleeping Naked Is Green (not just because I’m a main character in this hilarious memoir- no I didn’t write it), The Glass Castle, an old favourite Like Water For Chocolate, and Tuesdays With Morrie.
The cake looks delicious

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)

I agree with LoverFeast on Pillars of the Earth. I’d also add Sleeping Naked Is Green (not just because I’m a main character in this hilarious memoir- no I didn’t write it), The Glass Castle, an old favourite Like Water For Chocolate, and Tuesdays With Morrie.
The cake looks delicious

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett…it’s about the cathedral builders. One of the best books I’ve read in a while (mind you, I have five kids and don’t get to read as much as I’d like!) It is a really good book!
I read it back when I was in college – a friend loaned it to me, and I really enjoyed it. It has been so long, I wonder what I would think now.


Looks delicious!
I’ve read some great books recently:
– “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett, a novel about women in the South during the 1960s.
– “Mister Pip” by Lloyd Jones, a novel that draws upon and reinvents Dickens’ “Great Expectations” on a war-torn Caribbean Island
– “The Monsters of Templeton,” another novel that plays with its literary forebears, set in a fictionalized version of Cooperstown
“Out Stealing Horses” is on deck for me.


this looks great! can’t wait to try it.


This looks yummy – I’ve tried a similar recipe in Nigella Lawson’s how to be a domestic godess, and it was lush.
I’d recommend Sea of Poppies, by Amitav Gosht, first in a trilogy set in india/china during the opium wars of the 1800s. Absolutely fascinating read!


The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is one of the best books I’ve read recently. It’s a great little mystery told from the perspective of a 12 year old genius girl who loves chemistry. If you enjoy Alexander McCall Smith novels, you’ll like this one.

Deb Schiff

“Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon (and the rest of the series, if you like that…) is a good summer read. It’s hard to place into a genre… it was recommended to me because I enjoy historical fiction, but it has some seriously juicy scenes that would fit well in romance.
If you like historical fiction, then “Pillars of the Earth” and “World Without End” by Ken Follett are excellent.
I also love the “His Dark Materials” trilogy by Philip Pullman, which is actually in the children’s section, but the themes are definitely grown up.


Wholeheartedly second Brittany’s recommendation of the Thursday Next series – not the *most* cereberally challenging, but seriously fun and filled with literary allusions.
And if you haven’t read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon yet, it is high time to do so – it was not the Pulitzer winner of 01 for nothing.


Definitely read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, it is absolutely excellent.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman won the Newbery Award this year and is wonderfully creepy.
If you want books written for book-lovers, try the Thursday Next series (first book is The Eyre Affair) by Jasper Fforde. They are crazy, but so much fun to read.
Still Alice has also been a good recent read of mine – the topic is sobering (Alzheimers), but the approach is quite unique and moving.


Wow! Great recipes and book ideas too. I also have memories of weekly trips to the library, creating a love of books which has remained an important part of my life. Food and books are a great combination – I recently recreated a vegetarian version of Babette’s Feast (based on the Karen Blixen novel which also became a movie) – great fun!
Favorite recent books:
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks


I was just like you when I was growing up! I had books stashed everywhere “just in case.” My mom used to come in to turn off my light, and I would sneak into the bathroom with a book and read in there for hours. I’ve recently started reading in both English and French, so my list of books I’m currently reading is twice as long as it used to be.


I simply adore your posts and your recipes – they’re not like any others that I see on the web. I love how you use healthy ingredients to create such lovely dishes. Again, this one doesn’t disappoint!

Tabitha (From Single to Married)

What is the What by Dave Eggers – AMAZING – I am in a book club of 11 women and we voted it book of the year last year.
Agree with the earlier comment by Madelaine that Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones is brilliant and can also second Lisa in Oz’s suggestion for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

Gourmet Chick

Thank you speaking of my area in france: “la Bretagne”, and of traditional breton recipes. We use buckwheat in saltedccakes and in sweat ones too like “madeleines”. You can see a recipe on my blog (in french) if you want, it’s “Breizh cake”:


Just finished Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Both AMAZING reads!
cake looks delicious!

Amanda Lawrence

Here is a great book that I read a while back:
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
A Family Daughter by Maile Meloy, has some strange themes, but a good read.
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
I read The Giver by Lois Lowry in school and I really loved it, if you’re after something shorter.
I also think The Book Thief is a fabulous book!
I can’t wait to read some of your suggestions!


Hi Heidi:
I have a new friend who is basically allergic to everything except beef, pork and vegetables and fruit and its so refreshing reading your blog for your vegetarian dishes!
Also, even though there is so much hype on the Twilight Series it is a great read for its timeless storyline 🙂 I found there are a few people that have finished all 4 book, which are 300-500 pages each in 2 days!

Lick My Spoon

Thank you speaking of traditional recipe from my aréa “la Bretagne”. Yes I’m “bretonne” and I love using buckwheat: in sweat cakes like yours and in “madeleines” it’s gorgeous, and when I make dough for tarts I mix (half and half) buckwheat and classical flour. Come and see if you want on my blog a salted cake recipe (it’s in french!)…

Dominique (de vous à moi...)

As a big fan of short stories, I am saddened that more people don’t read them. Most can be finished in less than two hours, but often they resonate more deeply than novels. It’s their distillation that gives them power more akin to poetry than prose. So, try this:
I also love reading the father of the essay,
Michel de Montaigne.
If you’ve never read Calvino, please, please do. He is marvelous. Try Invisible Cities.
Also, anything by Stewart O’Nan. His A Prayer for the Dying is radically different from The Speed Queen. Always brilliant.
Just so ya’ll don’t think I don’t read female authors, few writers are finer and more soulful than Flannery O’Connor.
Transformations by Anne Sexton.
Best novel in the last year: John Connolly’s Book Of Lost Things.
I love Patricia Highsmith, too. Glad you read her.
Shoot, just three more, please: Elizabeth McCracken, A. Manette Ansay, and Paul Griner. Unsettling, but beautiful.
Okay, gotta mention Amy Bloom. Wonderfully attuned to our complicated human thoughts and behaviors. Bloom is a lovely and assured writer.


BTW in the category of “cookery books to take to bed and read” rather than just cook from, I like Tamsin Day-Lewis.


I discovered your site today and it’s inspired me to cook several things this weekend (I’m in the Middle East so our weekend is Friday and Saturday). I found it when I was searching for the Ottolenghi camargue rice and quinoa recipe to send to me sister in UK (so delicious). I love the tone of your writing and I have a family of bookworms. If you haven’t read Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky yet, I urge you to do so (made more poignant by the incredible story behind the authors life and the discovery of the manuscript), likewise either of Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie’s books. Best recent non-fiction The Sum of Our Days – Isabelle Allende. Now off to see if I can buy buckwheat in Dubai!


Man, you are killing me with this buckwheat cake! Here I was, all excited because I thought it was going to be a gluten-free recipe… and it wasn’t. (Buckwheat is, after all, gluten-free). 🙁
I’ve been reading foodie books lately. I was suffering through Piers Plowman in a effort to brush up for grad school, but it was so dreadfully dull. One of my favorites was Bill Burford’s Heat. Definitely cured me of my desire to be anything but a home cook!


The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa. Such a nice rhythm. Do you ever feel like, with modern writers, sometimes they get carried away and it’s like they’re writing their daydreams? Sometimes it feels like I’m getting too much ego and not a lot of art. This is not one of those books. Simple, clean structure, slightly melancholy, reminds me of Flaubert.
And I didn’t read him this year, but Don Delillo rocks my world. White Noise.


I just discovered your blog recently and am thoroughly enjoying it! So many yummy veggie recipes on it 🙂
Bookwise it’s hard to know where to start but…
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen is a must
(just finished reading for the gazillionth time)
Some other excellent books that I’ve read this year are
A Widow for One Year by John Irving
Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif
Happy reading


Try anything by Bryce Courtenay – Power of One is a must (don’t be put off by the crappy movie!). Kathy Kelly or Marion Keyes for a bit of light chick-lit when your brain needs a rest! Phillipa Gregory is great for historical fiction. I’m reading at the moment the fifth book in the Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean Auel. Don’t plan on getting anything else done!


It never occurred to me to use buckwheat in a sweet cake. Sounds wonderful! I can just imagine it with a spring strawberry-rhubarb compote and some fresh whipped cream.

Sarah (Coffee Beans and Curry Leaves)

I have so many! Not all of these are new, they’re just ones I’ve read recently:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Plague of doves by Louise Erdrich.
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
Pilcrow by Adam Mars-Jones
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Shifting Fog by Kate Morton

Lisa in Oz

I just finished reading Kiran Desai’s “The Inheritance of Loss,” and I couldn’t recommend it with more enthusiasm. Packed with insight into the human spirit and humanity’s modern condition, it was a page turner that kept me up late with my clip-on book light, too…


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