Food-Related Stories

Penguin Workshop. (Pocket Change Collective). Jan. 2022. 64p. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9780593223499.
Gr 7-10–In this short but sincere memoir, chef Melian presents a reflective look at her past by connecting her life experiences to cooking and food. With a clear, warm voice, Melian leads readers through moments of her growth in the culinary industry, from her childhood baking experiments in her abuela’s backyard in Buenos Aires to her work as a street vendor to her pursuit to educate others about cooking. Melian’s writing clearly reveals her joys and struggles as her passion for the culinary arts, gratitude for family, and strength to pursue her dreams comes to the fore in her book. With fluid, descriptive phrases interspersed throughout, Melian portrays food as an opportunity for shared moments with others. She takes time at the close of each section to explain why cooking has long been, to her, a valuable element sewn into the fabric of life, culture, and memories. Even as the memoir closes on an allegorical note, Melian openly conveys her meaningful discoveries about her personal truth, so the stories easily are shaped into lessons about perseverance to pursue a dream, dedication to one’s craft, and the value of creating these “food-related” moments.
VERDICT Melian’s short but expressive memoir about her life experiences and working with food will inspire readers to savor all of the ingredients of happiness in life.

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