The coffee table book, it’s the thing that can make your Swedish inspired living quarters look a little more human, lived in and for some, like our editor… intelligent. They’re bright, big, stunning to flick through and unlike a novel, you don’t need to follow it all the way to the end to discover who killed whom or that the man with the chiselled chest got the lady after all. Years of reading Mills & Boon gives us artistic freedom to know that last one.
From the world of art to that of sport, architecture, design and gardens, there are so many coffee table books to choose from, you could be forgiven for thinking that you never saw one about food; that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Food is art, art is culture and a coffee table book is well, someone trying to inject both into a living space. So which are the books that we in, The Mouthful towers believe you should look to owning to bring design flair and #foodporn into the home. Here are our suggestions.
Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs’ Favorite Restaurants (Brand New Edition)
It has sold over 100,000 copies, it is bright, chunky and a gastronome’s wet dream to see where their favourite chefs go to eat, possibly between service. As the publisher puts it. “This is the ultimate restaurant guide written by the real experts: more than 600 of the world’s best chefs, including recommendations from René Redzepi, David Chang, Jason Atherton, Shannon Bennett, Helena Rizzo, Massimo Bottura, Yotam Ottolenghi, Yoshihiro Narisawa and hundreds more. The book features more than 3,000 restaurants in more than 70 countries, including detailed city maps, reviews, reservation policies, key information and honest comments from the chefs themselves.”
Taste: The Infographic Book of Food
If you’ve never seen an infographic, where have you been for the last 10 years? Well this is a book that tries to address that anomaly by producing data and presenting it beautifully all around food. No, seriously, they do. Suited to people poor on time but with a thirst for a G&T and learning all about food. “In an age where we consume up to 285 pieces of content just via social media on a daily basis, information needs to be easily accessible, quick to the point and captivating.”
The World Atlas of Coffee: From beans to brewing – coffees explored, explained and enjoyed
When it comes to #coffeeporn there are very few books like this. From Bolivia to Zambia, the author takes you on a journey about coffee and all the different things that can make a cup really stand out. Perfect for your friends who bought a fucking expensive gaggia machine and are too scared to use it; they can look at this book instead. “Where coffee comes from, how it was harvested, the roasting process and the water used to make the brew are just a few of the factors that influence the taste of what we drink. Champion barista and coffee roaster James Hoffmann examines these key factors, looking at varieties of coffee, the influence of terroir, how it is harvested and processed, the roasting methods used, through to the way in which the beans are brewed.”
La Figa: Visions of Food and Form
We really don’t know what to say about this book; think of it as the ideal present for a single person who has too much internet downtime, a couple who are trying to spice things up or a really inappropriate family member who always remarks on the human form. DON’T buy this for your aunty Ethel unless you feel like you want to make her really rather uncomfortable. In short, it is nude models with food stuck to them. The author calls it art, we’re not so sure…
Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living
Another year and another thing where the Scandi’s get to tell us we are living life wrong; they’re right of course. So it’s not so much #foodporn for the coffee table, but it is more about a balanced life, which, is lovely, and needed. “Lagom (pronounced ‘lah-gom’) has no equivalent in the English language but is loosely translated as ‘not too little, not too much, just right’.” We’re not even going to argue with that, anyway, Hygge was sooooo 2016.
The New York Times: 36 Hours 125 Weekends in Europe
If travel, culture, food and discovering all of this in one city is YOUR thing then your coffee table needs this book. Actually it’s what it is crying out for because, as our editor put it, “you will discover things about your favourite European getaway that you never knew and want to go back just to see.” We have a feeling there was a pizzeria that he didn’t know about… We digress, the publication company from the New York Times put it, “From Renaissance splendor in Florence to Flamenco in Seville, from luxurious Lake Como to easygoing Lisbon, you ll find the antique and the cutting-edge, the renowned and the unexpected, and all distilled in neat 36-hour schedules, so you can transform your weekends into European adventures.” There are food guides, pictures and pure #travelporn to fall in love with!
Where to Eat Pizza
It has become a bit of a cult coffee table book, where anyone who owns it is a self professed pizza expert but has probably only ever eaten a frozen Dr Oetker… in turn the real pizza lovers, like our fearless leader can’t find a copy to save his life. A true exposé on the best pizzas in the world and where to get them, taking all the nonsense out of it being in some Tibetan monastery. “Featuring more than 1,700 world-wide pizzerias, parlours, and pizza joints listed. All you need to know – where to go, when to go, and what to order.”
Fire and Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking
Like all things Nordic, this book could break your heart; the less said the better. But this is the compendium of Nordic cooking that brings that clinical, sometimes totally misunderstood cooking to a new light and a new readership. It’s more than your coffee table love affair, it’s a love affair with the countries that it is inspired by. “From the bold aroma of smoked arctic char to the delicate flavour of saffron buns, and from the earthy taste of chanterelle soup to the fragrant aroma of raspberry-rose petal jam, this beautifully curated cookbook features over 100 inspiring and achievable recipes that introduce home cooks to the glorious and diverse flavours of Nordic cooking.”
Where Bartenders Drink
Well, if you want to know where your favourite chefs eat, it’s only natural you get to see where your favourite bartenders drink, right? Someone thinks so and again, it does not disappoint, giving you tips and ideas whilst making the most out of that all important coffee table necessity… looking the part! “The best 300 expert drink-makers share their secrets – 750 spots spread across 60 countries – revealing where they go for a drink throughout the world when they’re off-duty. Venues range from late-night establishments and legendary hotel bars to cosy neighbourhood ‘locals’ – and in some surprising locales.”