Books

Celebrating Life Through Delicious Food

Kendra Winchester is a Contributing Editor for Book Riot where she writes about audiobooks and disability literature. She is also the Founder of Read Appalachia, which celebrates Appalachian literature and writing. Previously, Kendra co-founded and served as Executive Director for Reading Women, a podcast that gained an international following over its six-season run. In her off hours, you can find her writing on her Substack, Winchester Ave, and posting photos of her Corgis on Instagram and Twitter @kdwinchester.

Welcome to Read this Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that needs to jump onto your TBR pile! Sometimes these books are brand new releases that I don’t want you to miss, while others are some of my backlist favorites. This week, let’s talk about one of my most anticipated nonfiction books of the season.

a graphic of the cover of Bite by Bite: Nourishments and Jamborees by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Bite by Bite: Nourishments and Jamborees by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s World of Wonders is one of my most recommended books of all time. Ever since it came out in 2020, I’ve been sharing it with anyone who will listen. With its beautiful illustrations of plants and animals — combined with Nezhukumatathil’s personal essays — it’s the perfect book for any lover of the natural world.

Bite by Bite continues this tradition, but this time, Nezhukumatathil is writing about her favorite foods. In one essay, she describes some of her favorite memories shared with friends and family eating shave ice. In another, she shares her experience feasting upon different varieties of watermelon at a watermelon festival. I especially loved how Nezhukumatathil describes her love of fruits of all kinds — jackfruit, Saba banana, pineapple, mango, lychee, miracle fruit — she treasures them all.

As she shares her memories around her favorite foods, each essay celebrates Nezhukumatathil’s life. She has such a unique way of giving readers glimpses of her life, giving us details about her family’s love of mangos or parties of all kinds featuring lumpia. Every dish or ingredient holds a special place in her heart.

With its illustrations, Bite by Bite is the perfect gift book for any food lover. Fumi Nakamura illustrates the foods featured in every chapter, making each essay feel unique. And if you’re an audiobook lover, you will fall head-over-heels in love with Nezhukumatathil’s performance. Her warm and inviting voice is so calm and restorative. It’s like you’re at the farmer’s market and she’s sharing about her favorite finds with you as you peruse the different stalls. She possesses such a personable tone as she shares her memories with listeners.

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