Each week, we’ve been sharing stories about food and food products. But today we wanted to be a little more literal about our tagline and give you the lowdown on our favourite books right now.
Spoiler alert: they’re all books about food, and they reveal how incredibly important food is to friendship, culture, and human societies.
So in case you need an opportunity to escape reality for a while and immerse yourself in a fictional world, here are six of our top books and novels with a focus on food.
OK, this one’s not actually a book – but it is written by a famous novelist. It’s a short story that explores the link between food and friendship.
A group of friends get together for a meal, and they share stories from their lives. And as they eat together, they feel the strength of their connection and realise how important they are to one another.
It’s not a novel all about food – but the scenes about food in this book will stick in your memory for years.
The one we can’t forget is a detailed description of the protagonist, named Toru Okada, making spaghetti with meatballs. Here’s just one small slice of that scene:
I leaned over and peeked through the kitchen door. The spaghetti pot was steaming nicely, and Claudio Abbado was still conducting The Thieving Magpie.
“Sorry, but you caught me in the middle of making spaghetti. Can I ask you to call back later?”
“Spaghetti!? What are you doing cooking spaghetti at ten-thirty in the morning?”
“That’s none of your business,” I said. “I decide what I eat and when I eat it.”
It’s sort of like a food journal, but for more than one person to fill in together. The book encourages readers to eat together, and fill the empty pages with their favourite foods and ingredients.
It’s dotted with short stories about shared meals, recipes, and tips for creating happy, peaceful eating-together experiences.
This one’s a picture book for children – and it’s a great way to introduce young kids to the values of sharing, kindness, and creating community through food.
It celebrates the Korean tradition of sharing food as a way of showing love and kindness; telling the story of a girl who shares her lunch with a new friend, and the bond it builds between them.
You might’ve seen the movie (and if not, watch it – it’s a great, light-hearted experience). But it was a novel first.
It tells the story of an Indian family who move to France. They open a restaurant across the road from a Michelin-starred French restaurant, which inevitably leads them to clash with the French restaurateur as they compete for customers.
But…well, we won’t spoil it for you. All we’ll say is that it ends well – and leaves you feeling full of hope about the power of food to transcend cultural barriers.
A nine-year-old girl called Rose discovers she has the ability to taste the emotions of the people who prepare her food.
Her mother’s lemon cake tastes like “absence, hunger, spiralling, hollows.”
It’s a deliciously surreal reading experience, and Rose’s relationship with food reveals the intensity of her family situation, and the way she seeks a deeper connection with the people around her.
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