If there’s one thing people like as much as food, it’s the culture of food: dining and cooking blogs, restaurant scenes, cookbooks for every sense and sensibility, chef idolatry, food TV, and, of course, food movies. Even bad movies about food are still good, thanks to their subjects, and cinema’s most sensual moments tend to feature meals rather than sex—think Eat Drink Man Woman, Babette’s Feast, and Tom Jones. (If you’ve never seen the latter, be forewarned: You’ll never look at a roasted chicken the same way again.)
While there’s never been a shortage of movies to make us hungry, though, there’s a surprising dearth of films based on food memoirs. Sure, there’s Julie & Julia, Nora Ephron’s film based on memoirs by Julia Child and Julie Powell; Toast, based on British chef Nigel Slater’s memoir; and reportedly an upcoming film based on New York City chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s Bones, Blood & Butter (which may star Lady Goop herself, Gwyneth Paltrow). But since all of Hollywood loves a literary adaptation, and since few literary genres blend such va-va-voom carnality with serious brass tacks, I’d argue there should be many more. For Word and Film, I list the food writers whose books would provide an excellent start.