In the old days, people celebrate food with stories and vice versa. The same holds true to this day.
Since ancient times, people have gathered together to eat their food and share stories. Picture a small village gathering around a fire while sharing a roasted wild boar and talking about the day’s hunt or stories about gods and heroes of the past. Today, a family meal or a dinner date is never complete without stories. Stories make the meal more enjoyable. The stories are made more pleasurable with the company of something to eat. That is perhaps the reason why we love to grab popcorns when watching watch a movie or prefer to talk in restaurants. We love to eat while telling or hearing stories, and vice versa. Of course, in literature food and stories also provide a good blend. There have been many food novels and recipe books with interesting stories behind them. Today, we are going to take a look at some books that celebrate life through food recipes and the stories they tell.
Food and Stories: A Celebration of Life
When I think of food and stories, the first thing that comes to my mind is the late Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain was not only a chef, he was also a writer, journalist, and travel documentarian. His life’s work has taken him to many places and he has shared many wonderful stories and amazing dishes. Every documentary features exotic meals, local desserts, traditional cuisines, and narratives that celebrate the beauty and bounty of life. His zest for food, travel, and stories is contagious. Another work that I also find interesting is Anita Legsdin’s Remembrance of Meals Past. It is a collection of remarkable stories and unforgettable food encounters. Anita Legsdin’s book of favorite recipes features short stories, some are based on actual events and some are fiction. Nonetheless, Legdin’s novellas are filled with lessons, wisdom, and more importantly, rich memories. Many of the stories touch on funny experiences of human relationships. All in all, the book is a truly pleasant read and worth reading over and over again. Another interesting book is the heartwarming memoir Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton. It follows the amazing journey of Prune restaurateur Gabrielle Hamilton who lives a wild life. His journey as one of the most celebrated chefs in New York begins from being a college dropout to a broke backpacker to being a proprietor. In her long journey, she has experienced many things in life, from washing dishes, feeding summer campers, and even preparing gourmet meals for the king of Thailand. This inspiring memoir about one person’s journey in life has captured the interest of many readers and food lovers.
These three wonderful narratives represent the vast human experience of food storytelling and adventure. There are hundreds of cookbooks, recipe manuals, and food-themed stories that waiting to be read and to be discovered. They only not show us various delicacies and cuisines, but also the many flavors of life’s journey. We all share the same narrative arc but we all have unique experiences and tastes, and books and other works of literature that feature food and stories remind us of the genericness and uniqueness of human existence. We are all made by the food that we eat and the stories that we tell. Read and eat well.
Anita Legsdin is a Latvian-American author and food lover. To know more about her work, grab a copy of her book Remembrance of Meals Past, or check out her website today.