Hey guys, it’s the last post of the year on Shanaya Tales, and today I have someone very special on here to end the year on a high note. So please extend your warm welcome to Shalini from Shalzmojo blog, who btw is a voracious reader, an avid traveler, and one of my favorite people on the internet.
And today she is here, sharing 3 Tasty Reads a.k.a. books featuring food as a dominant theme, that honestly I cannot wait to devour. Because let’s face it, there are few things I love as much as I love to read and eat. And if they come in such a delicious package, how am I supposed to resist?
So now without further ado, let’s hear from the lady herself…
Hello readers. I am Shalini from the Shalzmojo blog and am delighted to share with you my book recommendations based on food.
I love food and I think food is quite the universal language at the moment. Our palate has expanded beyond the regional cuisines, thanks to travel and food based shows on television and our own travels too. We have fallen in love with celebrity chefs and now a days there is a rush to attend their book launches over any other author.
So I felt apt to talk about books where the story revolves around food and how it makes us feel.
You must have seen some of the popular movies based on this topic – Julie & Julia, The Chef, The 100 feet journey, etc. Right now I am loving the current season of MasterChef Australia on the telly.
Okay now for the books, I will start with the ones I liked the most and work my way down.
The particular sadness of lemon cake by Aimee Bender
I picked this book out of curiosity at the title and am so glad that I did. It was one unusual read as it combines surrealism with reality in a pretty uncanny way. This kind of writing tends to put me into a state of trance, pulling me deeper into a book.
Our story begins with 9 year old Rose Edelstein and it’s her birthday. She takes one bit of the cake baked by her mother Lane, and finds a hollow, empty taste in it which reminds her of sorrow.
Though her happy-go-lucky mother denies she was sad while baking it, Rose realises her taste buds are telling her something.
Over a course of time, she discovers she can discern the food maker’s emotions by tasting their food. She starts eating factory processed food to avoid the emotional download she gets from eating homemade food.
Other characters in the tale include her compliant father who has an unexplainable fear of hospitals, her brother Joseph who thinks Rose is crazy and his best friend George who likes Rose.
The book takes us into Rose’s world and her conclusions about the world and the people in it. The journey into other people’s lives vis-à-vis food leads her to discover secrets people had been hiding.
She finds a few in her own family and doesn’t know how to put them right. She eventually learns to handle her situation better and uses it to help people. Rose realises her food psychic skills are actually a great way to get around life and stops avoiding them.
Wouldn’t you love to be a food psychic? I know I would love to. We always hear from great cooks that one must cook with love to make food taste good. I guess the author used this as the inspiration for the plot and spun such a delicious tale around it.
GET THIS BOOK HERE –
Check out my Guest Post on Shalini’s Blog: 3 Non-Fiction Book Recommendations (for Everyone)
The Restaurant of Love Regained by Ito Ogawa
Rinko returns home to find her life turned inside out. Her boyfriend of many years has left her and cleaned out her apartment of everything, including the egg nest of savings they had been jointly building up.
Devastated to the core, she decides to return to her village and mother; she had left both ten years back as a 15 year old.
Rinko sets about opening a special restaurant where she would cook what she felt were right for one particular customer at a time. She decides to use organic produce from around her to infuse freshness and taste into her food.
Somehow she uses her intuition in her cooking and ends up healing her customers who soon start a word of mouth recommendation. People now flock to it to reconnect with the parts of themselves that were damaged or lost.
Oh I loved reading about the way she foraged for the locally grown vegetables, herbs and fruits for her dishes.
The thought process that went into planning each dish is a cook book on its own. And then there is the description of each dish, it’s a wonder I didn’t chew up the book 😉
Again the author has used the concept of infusing emotions into the cooking to make it taste delightful. I would say do give this one a read if you love the food process more than the actual cooking.
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
This is a debut novel for the author and she has explored the issues of dealing with death, self-esteem and relationships in this book.
18 year old Mikage Sakurai is devastated as her last living blood relative, her grandmother, dies. She is left with a feeling of being all alone in the world and is unsure how to deal with it.
Yuichi Tanabe is a classmate of hers who was very fond of her grandmother. On learning of her death, he invites Mikage to live him and his mother for a while, till she feels better.
She moves in and falls in love with their kitchen – a place that’s always been her one spot for solace and creativity.
She starts to cook to heal herself back into a better mental state. Eventually she moves out and takes up culinary arts as a vocation.
Throughout the tale, there are undercurrents of feelings between her and Yuichi. But both have issues that they are dealing with on their own and unable to meet each other in the middle for the longest time. Once again, food is what heals the lost souls in this tale too.
This book actually has another short story at the end which also deals with the pain of love and loss.
I loved the cultural notes in this book about the homes, clothes, traditions and food. In fact I think I have come to respect Japanese food a bit after reading the descriptions in this book.
The book is a simple read which deals with larger issues of relationships and death. Pick it up if you think a lot about these issues too.
GET THIS BOOK HERE –
So what did you think of my reccos? Have you read any food based tales that you think I should give a read too? Please share your thoughts with me. I will leave you with the book review of a collection of short stories by Aimee Bender – The Color Master by Aimee Bender
An interior designer by profession, writing is a passion which coupled with travel love blossomed into this blog where I love to just “do my thing”! Be it recipes, food events, travel jaunts, fiction dreaming or even meditative musings; all of it’s taken up quite passionately on my blog. I am a serious wine guzzler and love to chase butterflies in my free time.
This post is part of the December bloghop #mymojo with Shalzmojo
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