The meaning behind food memoirs

The Comfort Food DiariesIf cookbook lovers aren't devouring the latest offering from Yotam Ottolenghi, Ina Garten, or their favorite blogger, they are probably reading another food-related book such as a food memoir. That genre has exploded in recent years, with bloggers, chefs, and other food writers sharing their stories. Although some critics complain that the books are too similar, Ruby Tandoh thinks that each of these offerings is worthy of consideration

Tandoh doesn't mind that many food memoirs feature coming-of-age stories that revolve around food as a touchstone for emotion. Instead, she looks forward to "the similarities that shine through the differences, and the sense that there is something bigger underlying all of these stories: a distinctly "feminine" way of navigating the kitchen, not through encyclopaedic culinary knowledge or macho cheffiness, but tenderly, thoughtfully and with sharing at the centre."

One book that Tandoh focuses on in her article is The Comfort Food Diaries: My Quest for the Perfect Dish to Mend a Broken Heart  by Emily Nunn (watch for a promotion for this book coming soon). Tandoh says that while she is not familiar with the American Southern food featured in Nunn's memoir, she can taste it all the same. The metaphor of food creates "something tangible to hold on to" says Tandoh, no matter the background of the reader. 

While my own shelves bulge with cookbooks galore, other food-related books crowd next to them. Several memoirs stand shoulder-to-shoulder with historical references and books  that defy classification. Perhaps it's because I can relate to the authors, who share the same connection to food that I do. Like Tandoh, I don't mind if some of the tales are similar to others - I will devour every one, relishing each delicious line.

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