The best food writing is that which reorients us as readers. I thought I knew how to eat (doesn’t everyone?) — and then I read Shauna James Ahern’s book, Gluten-Free Girl, and I came to realize anew that everyone eats in her own way, everyone thinks about food singularly.
Sona Pai’s “Mangoes, memories — and motorcycles” is that kind of food writing, and we are fortunate to feature it on Culinate. Fortunately, the piece will live on in print as well, in Best Food Writing 2008. It’s a story of mangoes from India:
They’re the mangoes my dad — back when he was a naughty little boy in Gujarat — used to steal from his neighbor’s tree. I’ve visited his old house during each of my four trips to India, and each time I imagine him, skinny and barefoot, scrambling up for a treat.
They’re the mangoes my grandfather would haggle for at the bazaar. He’d ignore small talk from the fruit wallah as he scrutinized the rows of fragrant fruit, squeezing this one, smelling that one, accepting a sample, pretending it was no good.
Sona’s piece joins work by Dan Barber, Michael Pollan, Fuchsia Dunlop, Molly O’Neill, and many others. We congratulate her — and we’re celebrating by giving away three copies of the book to three lucky readers.
Leave a comment below by 10am (PST) on Friday, November 14, telling us who your favorite food writers are (cookbook or otherwise). We’ll pick three winners randomly from all the comments received.
Thanks, everyone, for participating in this book giveaway. We’ve chosen our winners: Holly, Kathy, and Margaret. Their books are on the way!
Pull up a chair. Here’s the spot for dispatches from Editorial Director Kim Carlson and, occasionally, others on our staff.
Want more? Comb the archives.
Most of the time with cooking and eating, the rules are clear.
A father’s legacy
The vegetarian-cooking pioneer
Barbecue, tamales, cocktails, and more
Good on everything