by Blue Delliquanti, Soleil Ho
get it here
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.
*A free copy was given through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
This was one of the rare occasions where I did not read the blurb before picking up the book and I was truly surprised.
Meal follows the story of Yarrow, a Japanese-American, who moved to a new state in order to interview for her dream job as a chef for Casa Chicatana, a bug restaurant. Despite sharing the same enthusiasm and love for using entomology in cuisine, a miscommunication occurred between Yarrow and Chandra Flores, the executive chef that Yarrow admires. Instead of giving up, Yarrow is determined to show Chandra and fix their miscommunication.
Meal is a diverse graphic novel that includes characters of various races, sexuality and body-sizes. It challenges the reader to ponder about the future of cuisine in this era where global warming is an issue and consumption of meat and animal products.
I loved how Meal went above and beyond. It wasn’t just a graphic novel about entomology in cuisine, it explained entomology in cuisine as a part of life, history and culture, shared meal recipes (absolute bonus!) and felt raw and intimate as the author Soleil Ho wrote something that was close to her heart – food.
Although I grew up in Asia and have family members who had experiences with eating bugs, I guess it’s not right up my alley. I don’t see myself doing it in the near future but I definitely understand it as an alternative to protein.
If you’d like to find out more about bugs in cuisines, general knowledge about entomology or maybe even try out some recipes, do check this graphic novel out!