Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Food Writing: Essential Reading

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Senior Editor and Columnist Shari MacDonald Strong writes "When I think of books and food, I think immediately of Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate. Third daughter Tita pines for her lover, Pedro - but because tradition dictates that she remain unmarried to care for her aging mother, Tita must stand by and watch as her sister Rosaura is married off to him instead. This book introduced me to magic realism (everyone who eats Tita's cooking feels her emotions: including, and especially, her heartbreak), which was a life-transforming experience for me, and the ending moved me profoundly. For more than 15 years, it has been one of my favorites. To this day, whenever I see a single remaining crepe or strawberry or cream puff at a party, I think of Esquivel's last, lonely chile."

Violeta Garcia-Mendoza , Literary Reflections Co-Editor, adds, "When I'm not cooking, or eating, or cleaning up after a meal, (which tends to be much of the time) my foodie self still can't get enough and I find myself hungry for food writing. In the past year, I've happily stumbled upon Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, an anthology detailing the pleasures of dining alone, Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a conscientious look at feeding a family, and, my favorite, Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love, a title which makes my mouth water and nourishes my appetite and spirit."

Caroline Grant, Senior Editor and Columnist, writes, "Saturday mornings when I was a kid, I would read Laura Ingalls Wilder's Farmer Boy in bed until I was too hungry to stand it any more, then go beg my mom for pancakes; Farmer Boy is my original go-to book for great food writing. In this novel about her husband's childhood, Wilder offers vivid descriptions of the amazing, enormous meals his mother put on the table (and side table, and counter) every day. My favorites were the passages about breakfast, from the towering stacks of pancakes spread with melting maple sugar, to the pitchers of fresh cream to pour over berries, to the biscuits and sausage and gravy and oatmeal and pie... It makes me hungry just to think of it all!"


Violeta Garcia-Mendoza’s poetry and fiction have recently appeared in Kestrel, Coal Hill Review, and Cicada. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, and two daughters.


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