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They Came, They Saw, They Cooked: 5 Food Memoirs

Illustration: A chef cuts up a book.

During summer vacation, part of me wants to spend my hard-earned shekels traveling the world and eating amazing food. The other part of me just wants to lie on the couch with a good book. Now, thanks to five delicious new food memoirs, I can do both.

The books — written by a reluctant, bad-girl chef; an avant-garde restaurateur; a slacker with a love of roast chicken; a Mideast war correspondent; and an American in Paris — are about love affairs with food, and the journeys that led their authors into the kitchen.

Granted, the term "food memoir" usually makes me cringe. It just smacks of indulgence — and not the good kind. Besides, in our age of celebrity chefs, kitchen lit and food fetishes, one has to wonder if there is anything really fresh to say about cooking at all.

Well happily, the answer turns out to be yes.

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