Good Reads

I was reading the New York Times Magazine‘s profile of Elizabeth Gilbert yesterday (in advance of her new novel), when it occurred to me that Gilbert has been just one of the many literary (and culinary) lights that have graced the pages of Dinner: A Love Story in the past few years. In the name of good reading — and in the name of giving you a break from hearing us babble on and on about chicken — I wanted to take this Friday to remind you of a few of their guest-posts. Among them, we have Oscar winners, James Beard Award Winners, National Book Award nominees, a coupla Pulitzer winners, a MacArthur genius, and, most important, writers and artists who have inspired us at the supermarket, the playing field, the dinner table and beyond. Okay, start reading!

Elizabeth Gilbert (author, Signature of All Things) on her own family dinner table, her great grandmother “Gima,” and butter (“If you have butter, use butter.”)

David Sedaris (author, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls) on working with Ian Falconer, what he liked to read as a kid, and whether books should have morals.

Adam Rapoport (editor in chief, Bon Appetit) on “Chicken Fingers Milanese”

George Saunders (author, Tenth of December) on his favorite kid books (and a last line that will make you weep)

Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket, author, Series of Unfortunate Events) on six books that should be on all kids’ reading lists

Emily Bazelon (author, Sticks and Stones) on everything a parent needs to know about bullying

Sam Sifton (news guy, author, Thanksgiving) on the Ten Laws of Thanksgiving

Alex Witchel (author, All Gone: A Memoir of my Mother’s Dementia, with Refreshments) on memories of her mother’s holiday party.

Shaun Tan (author and illustrator, Tales from Outer Suburbia) on his favorite childrens’ books as a kid.

Ted Lee (co-author Lee Bros Southern Cookbook) on roast fresh ham (and saving the pig ear sliders for someone else)

Curtis Stone (host, “Top Chef Masters”) on what food he’d take with him on a desert island, what cookbook changed his life, and the best restaurant he’s been to this year

Michael Paterniti (author, The Telling Room) on the two books every kid should have in his or her library

Susan Spungen (author, What’s a Hostess to Do?) on the rules of entertaining (including three laws of sanity preservation)

Michael Moss (author, Salt, Sugar Fat) on how to read a label

Pseudonymous Bosch (author, The Secret Series) on his favorite kid books (including the “Nate” book your kid should be reading)

Yolanda Edwards (editor, Momfilter) on her secret to getting into the best restaurants; and her husband, Matt Hranek (photographer, William Brown Project) on sending his kid to “meat camp”

Marion Deuchars (designer, illustrator) on dinner placemats (an illustrated contribution!)

Andrea Montalbano (author, Soccer Sisters) on sports and girls’ confidence, coaching your kid effectively, and how to become a soccer sister

John Jeremiah Sullivan (author, Pulphead) on four books that shaped his writing life, and the power of “allusion”

Daniel Coyle (author, The Little Book of Talent) on how to nurture talent (without being a psycho parent)

Charlie Duhigg (author, The Power of Habit) on kicking the dessert habit

Deb Perelman (author, blogger, Smitten Kitchen) on what she’s reading, watching, loving

Who’s Who?
Pictured top row, left to right: Elizabeth Gilbert, Daniel Coyle, Matt Hranek & Yolanda Edwards, Charles Duhigg; Second row: David Sedaris, Marion Deuchars, Adam Rapoport, Curtis Stone; Third row: Emily Bazelon, Daniel Handler, George Saunders, Matt Lee & Ted Lee; Fourth row: Michael Paterniti, Deb Perelman, Shaun Tan, John Jeremiah Sullivan; Bottom row: Sam Sifton, Pseudonymous Bosch, Michael Moss, Alex Witchel

For more guest-posts, click the “Cameos” category in the margin of this page.

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erinn johnson

My, the company you keep. I should be so lucky. I hand with the thirteen and under crowd these days.

I love the diverse collection and always like to see who will pop up on Dinner: A Love story (and I love the regular hosts just as much!)


This is an unbelievably kick-ass list. You two are such high (literary) rollers! Me=impressed.


Oh thank you for reposting this! I am reminded that I really did want to buy everything on George Saunders’ list. I am off to do that now. A stack of books under the Christmas tree is a necessity for me. Thanks!


Hi there, I just purchased Dinner and a Love Story’ and began reading it on the train this morning. I love your honesty and the strong voice you give to your readers. I can’t wait to delve into the book, and when finished read these great recommends! Thanks :)


I didn’t know Shaun Tan was a guest poster! We have his water buffalo print hanging in our living room, and have read the stories most of the stories from Tales From Outer Suburbia over and over to our five-year-old. He’s loved “Eric”, in particular, since he was abut two and a half.

That’s awesome.