December 2020: Food for Thought
As the holidays are traditionally a time for feasting, we thought food would be a fitting theme for our December box. Scroll down to read a little about each book before making your choice!
Gifts and artists will be announced shortly. Stay tuned!
With the Fire on High
By Elizabeth Acevedo
YA, Fiction, Romance, LGBTQ+
With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain—and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life—and all the rules everyone expects her to play by—once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free. Read more
Buttermilk Graffiti: A Chef’s Journey to Discover America’s New Melting-Pot Cuisine
By Edward Lee
In a nation of immigrants who bring their own culinary backgrounds to this country, what happens one or even two generations later? What does their cuisine become? It turns into a cuisine uniquely its own and one that chef Edward Lee argues makes America the most interesting place to eat on earth. Lee illustrates this through his own life story of being a Korean immigrant and a New Yorker and now a Southerner. Each chapter shares a personal tale of growth and self-discovery through the foods Lee eats and the foods of the people he interacts with. Each chapter is written in narrative form and punctuated with two recipes to highlight the story. Together, they form the arc of the narrative and contribute to the story we call the new American food. Read more
Winner of the 2019 James Beard Award for Best Book of the Year in Writing.
The Last Days of Café Leila
by Donia Bijan
Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Set against the backdrop of Iran's rich, turbulent history, this is a powerful story of food, family, and a bittersweet homecoming. When we first meet Noor, she is living in San Francisco, missing her beloved father, Zod, in Iran. Now, dragging her stubborn teenage daughter, Lily, with her, she returns to Tehran and to Café Leila, the restaurant her family has been running for three generations. Iran may have changed, but Café Leila, still run by Zod, has stayed blessedly the same—it is a refuge of laughter and solace for its makeshift family of staff and regulars. As Noor revisits her Persian childhood, she must rethink who she is: a mother, a daughter, a woman estranged from her marriage and from her life in California. And together, she and Lily get swept up in the beauty and brutality of Tehran. Read more
When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities
by Chen Chen
In this ferocious and tender debut, Chen Chen investigates inherited forms of love and family—the strained relationship between a mother and son, the cost of necessary goodbyes—all from Asian American, immigrant, and queer perspectives. Holding all accountable, this collection fully embraces the loss, grief, and abundant joy that come with charting one's own path in identity, life, and love. Read more
Longlisted for the National Book Award and winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, the Writers’ League of Texas Book Award in Poetry, and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry.
by Blue Delliquanti and Soleil Ho
Graphic Novel, YA, LGBTQ+
Yarrow is a young chef determined to make her mark on the cutting edge of cookery with her insect-based creations. Though her enthusiasm is infectious, it rubs some of her fellow cooks the wrong way, especially Chanda Flores, Yarrow's personal hero and executive chef of an exciting new restaurant. Her people have been eating bugs for centuries, and she's deeply suspicious of this newbie's attempt to turn her traditions into the next foodie trend. While Chanda and her scrappy team of talented devotees struggle to open on time, Yarrow must win over Chanda—and Milani, the neighbor she's been crushing on for weeks—or lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve her dreams. Read more