It's official: Our stomachs are not only the way to our hearts but also to our bookshelves. And it's all thanks to Penguin's gorgeous Great Food series, which gathers together reprinted texts of some of the best food writing from the past 400 years. (Yes, you read that right.)

The nine-book series--finally available stateside after debuting in the U.K. last April--starts with poet Gervase Markham's guide to 17th-century housewifery and goes straight through to 20th-century gems like Agnes Jekyll's A Little Dinner Before the Play. We were particularly thrilled by some of the more surprising and unknown choices, like Pellegrino Artusi's Exciting Food for Southern Types (which offers a defense of meat loaf) and Alexandre Dumas's From Absinthe to Zest (wherein you'll learn the proper way to serve kangaroo).

The texts are great, but what makes these books particularly special are the darling covers, courtesy of London jacket legend Coralie Bickford-Smith, who looked to ceramics for inspiration; each book's design is modeled after a popular pattern from the time it was written.

All of the installments are wonderful alone, but as a full set, they're truly irresistible.

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