• Friday, June 21, 2024

Books

Food stories from around the world leave you hungry for more

By: Anjali Mehta

THE second book from the UK’s first independent publisher for British South Asian writers has found talent from around the world for a series of short stories and essays around food.

After a great introduction to the central theme of food and cooking being a uniting force, the book offers sumptuous writing from diverse authors, which gives the reader a tasty dose of literary goodness.

The opening short story, Next To Bitter Gourds, revolves around a young bride from Bangladesh getting ready for the next chapter of her life, but who is tied to her past memories.

The anthology explores the heartwarming connection between food and family across the globe. Each story, concise and under nine pages, offers a unique voice and perspective, yet remains relatable to readers everywhere. There is great originality, such as in the essay, Homecoming: Notes on Food, Love and Healing by Katri Pindori, which could easily be a standalone book.

Birthed in Rasam by Lakshmi Shankar even offers up some recipes. The Karachi-set short story Mangoes by Khudayja Makda and What If Annette Comes To Tea by Narimaan Shaafi have relatable themes expressed in a quick and effective way, like much of the other writing.

All the various writing builds up to a final essay, The Food Of Love by Iqbal Hussain, which takes a whirlwind trip through the different episodes of an individual’s life connected to memories of food.

This small book punches way above its weight because it presents writing that is unlikely to be found anywhere else and puts across relatable emotions without turning this into a heavy read.

The major downside is perhaps the book’s biggest strength, which is that it leaves readers wanting more of each story and essay.

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