Welcome to another Top Five Tuesday! This August, the prompts are all about book covers that we love or make us want to pick up a book! Today’s prompt was quite easy for me, because I’m always drawn to books with food on the cover. Most of the books on this list are ones that I am very much interested in reading, so I do hope you find something as well!
With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.
Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain—and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life—and all the rules everyone expects her to play by—once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.
Cover art by Erick Davila
I don’t think I could have made this list without recommending With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. The author’s prose is so beautiful and poetic. The way Acevedo described food and relating it to emotions was just impressive. This book is so full of passion and love for culture with a daring and determined main character. Also that cover is so beautiful with the mix of fruits and herbs!
The Surprising Power Of A Good Dumpling by Wai Chim
Anna Chiu has her hands pretty full looking after her brother and sister and helping out at her dad’s restaurant, all while her mum stays in bed. Dad’s new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren’t right at home, she’s starting to feel like she could just be a normal teen.
But when Mum finally gets out of bed, things go from bad to worse. And as Mum’s condition worsens, Anna and her family question everything they understand about themselves and each other.
Firstly, I love that the cover shows a character, who I presume is Anna, balancing on a chopstick. Personally, I feel it represents Anna’s story in The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling, in which she is trying very hard to balance life as a student, as a second parent to her siblings, her mother’s mental illness and her desire to be a normal student.
Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond
A stunning collection of short stories about the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives in teens, from bestselling and critically acclaimed authors, including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco.
A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the pastries she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that can cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.
Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one in the same.
Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.
Cover images by artist Jess Cruickshank
Cover design by Heather Palisi-Reyes
What a beautiful and minimalist cover! Just looking at the cover makes me feel warm and homey. I also love that this anthology is about food and culture.
When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She’s tasked with saving her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.
With the cops treating her like she’s the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila’s left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…
Cover art by Vi-An Nguyen
Arsenic and Adobo has a vibrant cover, so beautiful, and then you notice the character putting poison into the food! Funnily enough, this cover makes me feel so nostalgic.
Sin Eater by Megan Campisi
For the crime of stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May receives a life sentence: she must become a Sin Eater—a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven.
Orphaned and friendless, apprenticed to an older Sin Eater who cannot speak to her, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world she barely understands. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it. She is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why.
The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater Walks Among Us.
I couldn’t do this post without a dark fiction book on the list. The premise of Sin Eater is so interesting! I the Sin Eater’s Book Club Kit, I read that the pomegranate was used in the cover to represent witchcraft.
Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder
One day, the mother was a mother but then, one night, she was quite suddenly something else…
At home full-time with her two-year-old son, an artist finds she is struggling. She is lonely and exhausted. She had imagined – what was it she had imagined? Her husband, always travelling for his work, calls her from faraway hotel rooms. One more toddler bedtime, and she fears she might lose her mind.
Instead, quite suddenly, she starts gaining things, surprising things that happen one night when her child will not sleep. Sharper canines. Strange new patches of hair. New appetites, new instincts. And from deep within herself, a new voice…
With its clear eyes on contemporary womanhood and sharp take on structures of power, Nightbitch is an outrageously original, joyfully subversive read that will make you want to howl in laughter and recognition. Addictive enough to be devoured in one sitting, this is an unforgettable novel from a blazing new talent.
Do I love the cover? Not really. But do I find it interesting? Very much so. I do love the idea of a woman turning into a dog and I’m also very curious on how the author tackles the commentary on contemporary womanhood and structures of power.
🌸 Do you feel hungry after reading this post? What’s your favourite book with food on the cover?
🌸 Do any of these books interest you? Have you read any of these?