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america-food-fiction-books-for-food-lovers
Books, Food Fiction, North America, United States

American Food Fiction: Books Around America for Food Lovers

If you’re a foodie who would love to travel the states of America, I’ve got just the list for you! This compilation of American food fiction explores the United States through literature and taste. 🍔

The following books are related to food in a number of ways; some are set in restaurants and diners, some explore food cultures and history, and others are written by cooks and chefs. Food is a general theme in some books, a magical component in others and some even include recipes! 🙌

The following list of American food fiction is organized by state. When researching titles I found it fascinating to discover the various food cultures of each state coming to life though literature. I haven’t discovered books in every state just yet, so if your state is missing, please let me know your recommendations in the comments below!

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here. Also, a few of the titles below are also non-fiction, but have been included as they follow a novel format. 

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Alabama Food Fiction

1987: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg (Troutville, Birmingham, Whistle Stop)
2018: The Best Cook In The World: Tales from My Momma’s Table by Rick Bragg

See the full list of Books Set In Alabama

California Food Fiction

1976: Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo by Ntozake Shange (also set in South Carolina)
1982: Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski (set in Los Angeles)
1989: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (set in San Francisco and China)
1991: The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan (set in San Francisco and China)
1997: The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (set in Oakland)
2003: Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber (set in Los Angeles)
2004: Serving Crazy with Curry by Amulya Malladi
2005: Blue Plate Special: A Novel of Love, Loss, and Food by Frances Norris (Los Angeles, also Kentucky)
2005: Murder Uncorked by Michele Scott (Napa Valley, series)
2010: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (Los Angeles)
2010: The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman
2010: Dead in the Dregs: A Babe Stern Mystery by Peter Lewis (Napa Valley, also in France)
2011: Maman’s Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen by Donia Bijan (Iran, California, Paris)
2012: How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue (San Francisco)
2014: Soy Sauce for Beginners by Kirstin Chen (Singapore and San Francisco)
2015: Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave (Sonoma)
2016: The Arrangement by Ashley Warlick (Los Angeles)
2016: The Winemakers: A Novel of Wine and Secrets by Jan Moran (Napa, Italy, Paris)
2017: Sourdough by Robin Sloan (San Francisco)

Colorado Food Fiction

1990: Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson (Aspen Meadow, series)
2008: The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O’Neal (Aspen)
2010: How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’Neal (Colorado Springs)

Florida Food Fiction

2002: Love by the Glass: Tasting Notes from a Marriage by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher
2012: An Appetite for Murder by Lucy Burdette (Key West, series)

Illinois Food Fiction

2010: Good Enough to Eat by Stacey Ballis (Chicago)
2011: Friendship Bread by Darien Gee (Avalon)
2013: Out To Lunch by Stacey Ballis (Chicago)
2015: Recipe For Disaster by Stacey Ballis (Chicago)

Kentucky Food Fiction

2005: Blue Plate Special: A Novel of Love, Loss, and Food by Frances Norris (also Los Angeles)

Louisiana Food Fiction

2004: Liquor by Poppy Z. Brite
2008: Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home by Kim Sunée (Korea, New Orleans, France)
2009: Under the Cajun Moon by Mindy Starns Clark (New Orleans)

Maine Food Fiction

2010: The Love Goddess’ Cooking School by Melissa Senate
2013: The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café by Mary Simses (Beacon)

Maryland Food Fiction

2012: When In Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison (also in Washington DC)
2018: Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li (Rockville)

Massachusetts Food Fiction

2005: The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand (Nantucket)
2010: Simply From Scratch (aka A Pinch of Love) by Alicia Besette
2011: Pie by Sarah Weeks (Ipswich)
2016: The City Bakers Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller (Boston; also in Vermont)

Michigan Food Fiction

2014: A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev (Ypsilanti, Michigan and Mumbai, India)
2016: Idlewild by Jude Sierra (Detroit)
2018: The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman (also in New York)

Minnesota Food Fiction

2000: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke (Lake Eden, series)
2003: Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray
2015: Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, 2015
2019: The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal

New York Food Fiction

1983: Heartburn by Nora Ephron (also set in Washington DC)
1995: Bone in the Throat by Anthony Bourdain (set in New York, yes, he wrote fiction!)
1998: Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reichl (mainly New York)
2000: Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain (set in New York)
2001: Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table by Ruth Reichl (sequel to Tender at the Bone, mainly New York)
2001: Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family by Patricia Volk (set in New York)
2002: The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly (set in New York, also London)
2003: On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle (set in New York, series)
2003: Monsoon Diary: A Memoir with Recipes by Shoba Narayan (also India)
2003: Cooking for Mr. Latte: A Food Lover’s Courtship, with Recipes by Amanda Hesser (New York)
2005: The Language of Baklava: A Memoir by Diana Abu-Jaber (Syracuse, also Jordan)
2005: Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl (New York)
2007: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
2008: Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs (New York)
2010: Georgia’s Kitchen by Jenny Nelson (New York and Italy)
2011: Eating with the Pilgrims and Other Pieces by Calvin Trillin
2012: Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson (also Sweden, Ethiopia, New York, Switzerland, France)
2014: The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee (also in Texas)
2014: Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line by Michael Gibney (New York)
2014: Delicious: A Novel by Ruth Reichl (New York)
2015: Driving Hungry: A Memoir by Layne Mosler (set in Buenos Aires, New York and Berlin)
2016: Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (New York)
2018: The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman (also in Michigan)
2019: The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel (New York, Champagne)
2019: Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl (mainly New York)

North Carolina Food Fiction

2007: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
2008: The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (Bald Slope)
2010: The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen (Mullaby)
2010: Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong

Ohio Food Fiction

2013: The Abundance by Amit Majmudar (also India)

Oklahoma Food Fiction

2015: Life From Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness by Sasha Martin (Tulsa)
Note: I love this concept, she cooked a meal from a different country each week over 195 weeks; exactly as I’m doing with the World Reading Challenge!

Oregon Food Fiction

2005: Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge (Portland)
2007: Julia’s Chocolates by Cathy Lamb (Golden)

Pennsylvania Food Fiction

1993: Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth by Tamar Myers
2011: The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
2011: Angelina’s Bachelors by Brian O’Reilly
2011: Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses by Meredith Mileti (Pittsburgh, also New York)
2014: Bread and Butter by Michelle Wildgen
2016: The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan (Philadelphia)

South Carolina Food Fiction

1976: Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo by Ntozake Shange (Charleston, also California)
2001: Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs (series)
2001: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

South Dakota Food Fiction

2010: Starting From Scratch by Susan Gilbert-Collins (Brookings)

Texas Food Fiction

2000: World of Pies by Karen Stolz (Annette)
2012: The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy (also in Germany)
2014: The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee (also in New York)

Utah Food Fiction

1996: St Burl’s Obituary by Daniel Akst (Salt Lake City)

Vermont Food Fiction

2009: Confections of a Closet Master Baker by Gesine Bullock-Prado (Montpelier)
2016: The City Bakers Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller (Guthrie; also in Massachusetts)
2019: Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers

Virginia Food Fiction

2006: The Merlot Murders by Ellen Crosby (Atoka, series)
2007: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
2013: The Union Street Bakery by Mary Ellen Taylor (Alexandria, series)

Washington Food Fiction

2001: Bread Alone by Judi Hendricks (Seattle)
2005: The Bakers Apprentice by Judi Hendricks (Seattle, sequel to Bread Alone)
2009: The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (Seattle)
2009: A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg (Seattle, also in Paris)
2011: The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn (Seattle)
2013: The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister (Seattle, sequel to School of Essential Ingredients)
2014: Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg (Seattle)

Washington DC Food Fiction

1983: Heartburn by Nora Ephron (also in New York)
2002: How to Cook a Tart by Nina Killham (Washington DC)
2008: State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy (series)
2012: When In Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison (also in Maryland)

Wisconsin Food Fiction

2015: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert (Milwaukee)
2017: The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert (Door County)

Wyoming Food Fiction

2011: Borrowed Light by Carla Kelly

What do you think of this American food fiction list?

Have some great American food fiction that I’ve missed? Are you planning a trip to America soon? Have some great foodie recommendations? Are you interested in other books set in North America? I’d love to hear about more about your travels and tips for American food fiction in the comments below!

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