Summer Reading: Food in Fiction

Dig into some flavorful fiction this summer with these five food-centric picks.

Yep, the warm weather has finally found us. And you know what that means: time to kick back, relax and dive into that ever-elusive summer reading list.

If you’re like us, you’re probably in the mood for stories on the sweet and savory side of the fiction aisle. To quench those cravings, check out these five food-focused titles that kept us coming back for more:

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting tale of a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse emotions and abilities into her pastries, thereby passing them along to anyone who eats them.

Despite not knowing how she acquired these gifts, she is suddenly propelled down a path that offers answers to her present, forgiveness for the past and, ultimately, the chance for redemption.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

What if you could taste and experience the lives of other people through the food they cook? That is the question Aimee Bender’s novel posits as its main character discovers she can taste the feelings of her mother in every slice of homemade lemon-chocolate cake. Soon, with her new found ability uncovering even the darkest of secrets, the delicate fabric of Rose Edelstein’s family begins to unravel.

The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

This bestselling novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni brings out the best of magical realism as it follows the journey of Tilo, an immortal young woman with a mystical gift for spices and cooking.

Disguised an old woman, she sells curative mixtures from her shop in California. But when presented with an unexpected love affair, she must choose between eternal youth and the turbulent nature of a mortal life. Both enchanting and heartbreaking, The Mistress of Spices delivers a heavy serving of the emotions that flavor life.

The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry

When the spicy aroma of her Nonna’s old soup recipe conjures a ghostly visitor into the kitchen (Nonna herself), who appears with a cryptic warning before vanishing into thin air, things take an unexpected turn for 26 year old Ginny Selvaggio.

As she begins to put the pieces of her family’s complicated past together, she realizes the real answers can only be accessed by talking to the dead. Her only option? Cook her ancestors’ recipes to conjure their spirits, and ask them for help.

The Theoretical Foot by M.F.K. Fisher

Written by the late great food stylist and critic, The Theoretical Foot was published on behalf of M.F.K. Fisher posthumously and follows the love affair of a renowned food critic navigating the restaurant scene of World War II era America. Although fictional, it is heavily based on Fisher’s own life—with a few surprising anecdotes to boot.

Did your favorite not make the list? Let us know what you’re reading at [email protected]

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