Exotic reads

In these three different culinary reads you'll find a family cookbook, a novel shaped by recipes and a provocative look at Britain's eating habits.

by: Jessica Hewson: Food24 | 29 May 2008

Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes by Tessa Kiros

Kiros who is of Finnish and Greek-Cypriot descent grew up in South Africa but at the age 18 set off to travel the world to learn about different cultures and ways of eating. She has cooked at restaurants in Athens, London, Sydney and Mexico.

Falling Cloudberries is essentially a recipe book but made more personal by the family stories and anecdotes that surround these dishes. The photographs taken not only of the food, but also the places that Tessa has visited, are exquisite. Images of family members and a contents page with chapter titles such as Monkey's Weddings, Washing Lines and Wishing Wells, and Suitcase of Recipes draw you in immediately. It is an inspiring and fascinating look into one woman's family culture through the lens of food.

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquival

Like Water for Chocolate may be an oldie but it is still one of my favourites. It tells the tale of Pedro and Tita's forbidden love, spanning over one year with a recipe at the beginning of each chaper. It's a South-American style romance with a modern and sensual twist on Romeo and Juliet.

The expert use of food as a mechanism to drive scenes of magic realism makes this a delicious and exceptional read. Tita is a maestro in the kitchen and this is how she connects with Pedro who has to marry Rosaura, Tita's older sister. Family tradition states that the youngest daughter (Tita) must remain unmarried to look after her mother.

Tita pours so much emotion into her cooking that it comes through in the reactions of the people who eat it. A memorable example of this is the affect that Tita's quail in rose petal sauce dish has on her sister Gertrudis. She gets so impassioned by the food that she has to go for a cold shower. But alas the shower shack bursts into flames and a very naked Gertrudis is saved by a soldier and she rides into the sunset with him never to be seen again.

This book highlights the importance of food as a form of communication between people. Esquivel writes to include all the senses and the result is a rich journey into Mexican culture and an enduring love.

Bad Food Britain: How a Nation Ruined its Appetite by Joanna Blythman

Britain's leading investigative food journalist, investigates the complex relationship the country has developed with food over the years. Many interesting insights come from this writer who is a familiar voice in both print and broadcast media.

She examines Britain's obsession with packaged and ready to eat food. According to Blythman, this is due to Britain's need to distance itself from the source of the food. This is especially apparent when it comes to meat and how people have reacted to the slaughtering of animals on television. For a provocative and enlightening read, delve into Bad Food Britain.

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