Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Five top food memoirs

Award-winning food and travel writer Sylvie Bigar was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and lives in New York City. Her writing has appeared widely, including in The New York Times, Washington Post, Food & Wine, Forbes.com, Saveur, Bon Appetit, Edible, Departures, Travel & Leisure, and National Geographic Traveler. In French, Bigar has contributed to Le Figaro, Histoire Magazine, Le Temps, and FrenchMorning.com.

Her new book is Cassoulet Confessions: Food, France, Family and the Stew That Saved My Soul.

At Lit Hub Bigar tagged five favorite food memoirs, including:
The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber

The relationship with one’s father made me fall in love with Diana Abu-Jaber’s The Language of Baklava on page four, when she described her Jordanian father at the stove, holding her six-year-old self, slung over his shoulder. “We are Arab at home,” she writes later, “and American in the streets.” The memoir opens while the family is living near Syracuse, NY but after her father disappears for a while, turns out he is back in Jordan where everybody joins him for a year.

Back in America and torn between pancakes and kebabs, Abu-Jaber juggles both identities as she grows into a defiant teenager. “I hate Arabic food,” she says to her Aunt Aya before they start baking baklava together. While her father holds on to the tastes of his youth, the author finally accepts that she can handle two identities. That’s exactly what makes her who she is and her writing so true.
Read about another title on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue