Vivid and affecting… A gem of a book.
Erregue-Sacchi brings together a series of finely crafted creative nonfiction essays from writers from Alberta with roots in several countries around the globe. Intensely lyrical and startlingly imaginative, Adriana Oniță’s opening piece will speak to many women, mothers, and grown daughters: she recounts the beginning of COVID-19 restrictions, and the way the quarantine sweeps the world into its sorrowful haze. It’s only when the world comes to a standstill, putting a stop to her fast-paced lifestyle, she develops a new appreciation for the fine Italian homemade cuisine, the women in her family are so proud of feeding the families back home. Worn down by COVID-19 restrictions, Peter Midgley finds solace in his granny’s old cookbook and his mother’s hand-written recipe book. Yasser Abdellatif paints a stirring, centuries-spanning portrait of Egypt as he delves into its geography, cultural and culinary history whereas Maitham Salman shares his recipe for Masgouf, the crown of Mesopotamian kitchen, while relating his longing for the taste of home. Mila Bongco-Philipzig brings a strong, memorable voice to the temporary foreign workers’ experience as she bonds with a group of food-court workers while waiting to pick up her teenage son after his work shift is over. Asma Sayed offers a glimpse into the difficulties of adjusting to a new life in a foreign country. Tazeen Hasan’s essay shares her nostalgia for tolerant India. Anna Ruiz Aguirre, Anna Marie Swell, and Marco Melfi bring effective nuance to the everyday experience of both immigrants and Canadians with their roots across a broad spectrum of ethnicities. Shimelis Gebremichael and Leilei Chen share their longing for the simple food back home while mourning the loss of a heritage. Wendy McGrath turns to art and food as quarantine brings life to a standstill. Luciana Erregue-Sacchi’s vivid, sharp eyed piece charts a culture in the midst of political change as Argentina witnesses Juan Perón’s rise to power. Finely crafted, imaginative, and poignant, this remarkable book will speak to both the vast majority of Canadians about the persistent tensions and powerful bonds between generations and culinary cultures and many immigrants struggling to find their footing in a new world. Beautifully rendered and original, each essay stands on its own; yet personalities unroll and details assemble to intensify the impact and meaning of the whole. Therefore, when the reader turns the final page, they are left with a nostalgia for the life as it used to be before the pandemic. This is a winner.
Beyond the Food Court
An Anthology of Literary Cuisines
by Luciana Erregue-Sacchi (editor)
Price $23.00 (CAN) Paperback