BooknBrunch Pairings to Create the Ultimate Weekend Brunch Experience
Satisfy Your Cravings With These Superb BooknBrunch Pairings
I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. Some of my strongest childhood memories are reading books at school and visiting the local library with my Mum. I can even remember the excitement of receiving my very own library cards (Yes, they were physical objects, made from lightweight cards, and hand-written by the librarian—also an actual person and not a computer–how things have changed!). I’ve also been a massive foodie since I was very young when my Dad introduced me to cooking as a young teenager. My interest in food and books hasn’t wavered; in fact, it’s intensified and become more entwined as I’ve gotten older. A good book and food combo still brings me intense pleasure and is something I try to create at least once a month.
Here are my book titles and brunch dishes to help you create the perfect pairing, whether choosing to ‘reat’ at home (see our Journal article Why We Should All Be Reating) or exploring a local food spot.
- Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
Ruth Reichl was a restaurant critic for the New York Times and Los Angeles Times before becoming Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine from 1999 to 2009. In 2014 she published her first novel, Delicious! I came across the book while living in New York and loved exploring the city through the book. Billy Breslin left California to work at Delicious, the most iconic food magazine in New York. Through her work at Delicious and her weekend job at Fontanari’s in Little Italy, Billy is introduced to the colourful characters of the neighbourhood, the restaurateurs, and the food artisans. As she settles and explores New York, we learn more about her past. Uncovering some old letters brings another dimension to the story. A light, fun, leisurely read that would satisfy any foodie’s desires.
Food pairing: Bruschetta: crunchy, toasted ciabatta slices, brushed liberally with garlic, loaded with plump juicy Italian tomatoes, topped with torn basil leaves, drizzled with the finest olive oil, and finished with a crack of black pepper.
2. The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C Morais
A New York Times and international bestseller, The Hundred-Foot Journey has sold across 35 territories worldwide and was adapted into a film in 2014. Hassan Haji was born above his grandfather’s modest Mumbai restaurant and into the humble surroundings and pungent smells of the Indian city. When tragedy strikes, the family is forced to leave their home and begin a culinary journey before reaching Europe and making Lumiere, a small village in the French Alps, their new home. Establishing an inexpensive Indian restaurant close to the esteemed French Relais, the family infuses their exuberance and spices into the sleepy town while at the same time infuriating Madame Mallory, the celebrated chef and proprietor of Relais. Eventually, Madame Mallory acknowledges the talents of young Hassan. Under her mentorship and guidance, he launches his own restaurant in Paris.
Food pairing: Masala Omelette or Desi omelette. Unlike its sophisticated French cousin, the masala omelette is beaten quite heavily to create a fluffy texture, the eggs are flavoured with a combination of aromatic spices (I prefer ground coriander and turmeric with whole cumin seeds), and it is cooked on both sides until golden brown. You can add some finely diced veggies to the egg mix, like onion, peppers, tomatoes or mushrooms. Either serve it on a plate with some bread of your choice or place it onto a roti or flatbread and roll it up like a wrap.
3. North of Happy by Adi Alsaid (Young Adult)
With his life somewhat mapped out, Carlos lives in Mexico City with his wealthy family, following the path his parents have laid out for him. He loves food and cooking, but his aspirations are dampened by his parents’ ambitions for him, and he doesn’t pursue his dreams. That is until his older brother, Felix, is tragically killed, and Carlos begins to hear his brother’s voice in his head. Heading Felix’s advice, Carlos leaves Mexico for the US where he takes a job with a celebrity chef and begins his career in food. A love interest threatens to bring a plot twist, and Carlos must choose his future carefully.
Food pairing: Huevos rancheros; a typical Mexican breakfast dish of fried eggs served on warm tortillas and topped with pico de gallo (a salsa made of tomatoes, onion, chili, and cilantro) and a side of refried beans,black beans, or guacamole.
4. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth David
One of my favourites and a book I return to frequently. It is the writer’s irresistible story of her year-long journey around the world, where she endeavoured to explore and find what she wanted out of life. Whether it was immersing herself in the pleasure of life and food in Rome, spiritual exploration in India, or the balance and divinity she found in Bali, she took the bull by the horns and lived her best life. My desire for change has me pining for her sense of adventure and wishing to follow her lead one day.
Food pairing: Neapolitan Pizza may not be your typical brunch dish, but for someone who can eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, dinner or supper, it is always on my brunch menu, especially now living in New York, where the pizza is king. The simplicity of a crisp dough base, topped with San Marzano tomatoes, freshly torn, creamy mozzarella, and scattered with fragrant basil, is simply divine.
Do you have a favourite brunch dish that takes you right back to the pages of a book you have read? Or have you ever been reading a book and felt the urge to head straight out to your favourite brunch spot and order something from the menu? I hope this article has inspired you to do precisely that.
We look forward to you sharing your experience with us on social @booknbrunch.
With 30 years of general management experience in the global insurance industry and having lived in 4 countries, Jacqui now spends her time between London and New York where she continues to pursue her passion for writing, food, books and travel. A Reiki practitioner, yogi and huge animal advocate, her home isn’t complete without a furbaby or three. In addition to being a BooknBrunch contributor, she writes for industry publications. Favourite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Favourite brunch dish: avocado toast with tomato and chilli
With 30 years of general management experience in the global insurance industry and having lived in 4 countries, Jacqui now spends her time between London and New York where she continues to pursue her passion for writing, food, books and travel.
A Reiki practitioner, yogi and huge animal advocate, her home isn’t complete without a furbaby or three. In addition to being a BooknBrunch contributor, she writes for industry publications.
Favourite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.