On The Early Show Friday, New York Times book critic Liesl Schillinger paid homage to the 2006 book that really spawned this genre, "Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously," by Julie Powell. In the book, Powell writes of her experience cooking all 524 recipes in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" over the course of a single year. While tackling the legendary cookbook, Powell breathes new gusto into her life.
A movie based on the book is slated for release in August, starring Amy Adams as Powell and Meryl Streep as the author's inspiration, Julia Child.
Here are four other kitchen reads that Schillinger recommends:
"I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti," by Giulia Melucci
Giulia Melucci, a New York woman who's 42 and still single, spent two decades cooking for boyfriends. When she realized a couple years ago that the men were gone, but the recipes remained, she wrote this book. In addition to recounting the failed relationships, the book is stocked with the recipes she used to reel the men in and console herself when they left.
"The Pleasure Is All Mine: Selfish Food for Modern Life," by Suzanne Pirret
Suzanne Pirret doesn't care if the way to a man's heart is through is stomach or not - she cares about the way to her own taste buds. She ditches the idea of a table for two and instead gives 100 decadent meals you can cook for one -- folded in with anecdotes from her life in New York, Los Angeles, Paris and London.
It sounds so romantic - being a pastry chef at a fancy place like New York culinary hotspot Nobu. But Dalia Jurgensen shows that romance in the restaurant can leave you scorched. Her souffles are brilliant, but a love affair she begins with her boss collapses. This book doesn't include any recipes, but Jurgensen's kitchen exploits (both her dishes and her romance) will be more than enough to satiate a reader's palate.
"Under the Table: Saucy Tales from Culinary School," by Katherine Darling
Darling's book is packed with recipes for Flourless Chocolate Cake, and "Perfect Chicken" -- things you can make for your family. And despite the spicy title, this book is on the sweet side. It's about a good girl who graduated first in her culinary class and then got married, skipped the restaurant step, and took her gourmet skills straight to her own kitchen to cook for her husband and kids.
("Under the Table" is published by Simon and Schuster, which is owned by the CBS Corporation, as is CBSNews.com.)