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Cozy culinary reads served up by a professional Montreal foodie

By Jenn Shenouda-Levine • November 21, 2017My Reading Life

For some, food is more than just fancy filler for Instagram photos, but an artform passionately studied and perfected to taste.

When Kat Romanow talks about food, her eyes light up as if she’s talking about a first love, which is not so far from the truth. Born in Montreal to a family of bakers, Romanow is now a food historian and director of food programming at the Museum of Jewish Montreal. There, she created a café called Fletchers-Espace Culinaire, where people can eat meals inspired by diverse Jewish food traditions.

So, when you spend the majority of your time dreaming up and testing recipes, planning food events and staging culinary photo shoots, what do you do to unwind? Read about food, of course!

With the cold weather upon us, Romanow suggests a couple of cozy food memoirs that you can curl up in bed with, possibly with warm tea and half a poppy seed bagel on your nightstand.

My Life in France by Julia Child

“When I first started getting into to food she was one of the people that helped me do that. She was one of the first people I started reading about and cooking from. It’s a classic for a good reason. Julia Child makes me feel like I can actually do this because she didn't have a normal career path and I look to her in those moments of doubt.”

Molly On The Range by Molly Yeh

“Disclaimer, I'm friends with Molly but I'd be recommending this even if I wasn't. Even though this is a cookbook, it also veers into food memoir territory because of the writing that Molly included in the book. Through them you get to learn about her life as she became a food blogger and moved from NYC to Grand Forks to a sugar beet farm. Her writing is engaging and playful. It's really a book that can go from the kitchen to your nightstand. And the recipes are amazing. Love the Jewish influences in it.”

Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

“Gabrielle Hamilton is my chef crush. She's amazing and a badass. She wrote this book and it's a deeply personal look at how she became the chef that she is today. She writes about her childhood all the way through to almost present time. It shows how hard she had to work to get to where she is today. I was reading it after opening Fletchers so reading the parts about opening a restaurant were relatable on certain levels.”

Gumbo Tales by Sara Roahen

“I love New Orleans and its food, so I love this book. It's the autobiography of a woman (a journalist) who moves to Nola with her husband so he can attend medical school. The book is how she discovers the city through its food. It's her story mixed with the history of classic Nola foods and restaurants. It brought me back there by reading it (I always wish I was back there so this was wonderful) and taught me more about the history of the food in a city I love and wanted to know more about.”

The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball

“This is a heartwarming story about a couple who fell in love and then started a farm together. Kristin, the author, was living in NYC and working as a journalist. She met her future husband while on assignment to write about the farm he was working on. Two very different people that decided to open a full service farm together. It was a picture into a part of the food world I don't often have contact with so it felt important to read about. Kristin is a wonderful writer and I got to meet her and her husband when I was visiting Essex New York where the farm is and they're so lovely. The farm is amazing too!”

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