For voracious readers, here are several culinary-inspired titles to satiate your appetite for stories and maybe even give you inspiration for your next meal. These captivating works feature vivid settings, lively characters, and unforgettable writing. And the authors have penned mouth-watering descriptions of food, whether it's comfort food or a new cuisine to try.
This mix of fiction and nonfiction reminds us of the joy and emotional connections we find through food, whether we're doing the tasting or the cooking!
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala is the start of a new cozy mystery series with plenty of humor, drama, and tempting recipes. Lila has a lot on her plate: a nasty breakup in the rearview mirror, meddling relatives, and a failing family restaurant. After a food critic dies at the eatery, Lila becomes Suspect Number One and, to prove her innocence, decides to take charge. With a little romance on the side and lots of delicious Filipino foods, this is a feel-good mystery, despite that pesky murder. [e-book | print]
Familiar to some music fans as the founder of the group Japanese Breakfast, Michelle Zauner has written a moving memoir that will speak to anyone who has lost a parent. In Crying in H Mart, Zauner unpacks her emotions about her rocky adolescence and complicated relationship with her mother through her memories of and ties to food. In addition to processing the rawness of grief, Zauner muses on her identity as an Asian American and how the loss of her mother also meant the loss of her connection to Korea. [e-book | print]
Uzma Jalaluddin (Ayesha at Last) is back with another charming rom-com, Hana Khan Carries On. A server at the only halal restaurant in her neighborhood, Hana's real passion is podcasting, even if she can’t get her foot in the door at the local radio station. When a new restaurant (with a handsome young owner) opens nearby and mysterious relatives appear to stir up long-buried family secrets, Hana digs deep to make the best of the chaos. [e-book | print]
Despite the wartime setting, The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan is light and uplifting historical fiction. It’s 1942, and four women are vying to co-host a BBC cooking contest, each seeing the opportunity as the answer to her problems. Amidst the stress of rationing, competition, and worries at home, the women find strength within themselves and in their unlikely friendships. Try the audiobook for lively accents that make each competitor leap off the page. [e-book | print | large type | audiobook]
Heather Webber takes readers on a magical journey of self-discovery and forgiveness in Midnight at the Blackbird Café. After the death of her grandmother, Anna Kate returns to Wicklow, Alabama, to tie up loose ends and close her grandmother’s restaurant. Instead, she finds herself drawn to the town and the unanswered questions it raises about her family, local secrets, and a longstanding feud. The combination of small-town charm, a little romance, and a sprinkling of magic makes for a comforting read. [print]
If you’re raring to get into the kitchen and try something new, read In Bibi's Kitchen by Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen. Much more than a cookbook, this is a collection of recipes handpicked by grandmothers from eight African nations, accompanied by an interview with each grandmother, or bibi. The personal stories highlight how food and identity are intertwined. If the cuisines are new to you, the recipes are accessible, suggesting substitutions or ingredients that you can find online or in large cities. [print]
To get suggestions like these in your inbox, subscribe to Books & Authors emails.
For more bookish content, head to VAPLD.info/readers.