|Edible Stories by Mark Kurlansky (Gibson Square)|
Each chapter is really a short story in its own right and they all just about tie loosely together in a kind of tapas way, with the same characters popping up every now and then but the food theme never going away.
I loved how this novel spoke of a time and a place for specific foods. A girl's on a date at a New York Yankees baseball match and her new boyfriend has gone to the trouble of preparing a fancy picnic with Italian white wine - but secretly all she really, really wants is a hot dog to watch the match with, the meaty aromas tantalising her as they waft across their seats.
The book touches on snobbery, of daft social conventions but also important ones in food, of how it helps oil the wheels of family life and communities. In one amusing chapter (Osetra), a young gang member in the Bronx gets an insatiable taste for caviar and he can't stop shoplifting it; in another (Orangina), the arrival of Orangina in a town in south-west France is seen as a threat to the town itself, older locals fretting "this is a vin rouge town!" and calling for a ban.
Edible Stories is a witty and fun book and a clever reminder of how food and drink are at the heart of human relationships.