By Colleen Hybl
Food is more than just nourishment for our bodies. It is a force that connects us with ourselves and others. Each of these books in some way deals with that theme, along with making you salivate for the delicious food mentioned in the stories.
For Lila Reyes in A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, food and her grandmother’s restaurant have always been her passion. That passion is placed on hold when her parents make her take a vacation to England after she faces a series of incidents near her graduation. While Lila is in England, she realizes that Cuban food is not just limited to her corner of Miami; instead, it can connect her to a wider world and more people, including a tea shop clerk named Orion. By the end of this book, you will not only be rooting for Lila and Orion, but you would be wishing you could taste Lila’s food and Orion’s tea.
The theme of food being a thread connecting people’s hearts continues in the anthology Hungry Hearts. While each of these stories is from a different genre, they are all connected by being set in the same neighborhood: Hungry Hearts Row. Each story inspires connections as well as appetites.
Even though we wish that every connection made with food is a positive one, sometimes those connections are about rivalry. Yet, rivalry can turn into romance given the right conditions. That is what happens to high school juniors Henry Yi and Rosie Radeke when they are both enrolled in an elite Parisian cooking program in Stephanie Kate Strohm’s Love à la Mode.
I hope one of these delicious books on food and love finds a place in your heart.