'Sweetbitter', 'Pomegranate Soup': 10 Novels Themed Around Food
Image Credit: The 100-Foot Journey by Richard C Morais has also been adopted as a film. Image via Amazon.

FOOD is the essence of life and existence so, it is natural that one can't help but be drawn to the world of culinary fiction. These food-based novels not only tantalise the taste buds but also offer a glimpse into the lives of characters who share a passion for food. From heart-warming tales of family and friendship to adventurous stories, these novels are sure to leave readers hungry for more. 

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

This delightful novel follows the journey of Hassan Haji, a young Indian chef who opens a restaurant in the south of France, just a hundred feet away from a Michelin-starred French eatery. As the two establishments compete for culinary supremacy, Hassan's extraordinary talent for cooking Indian cuisine leads him on a path of self-discovery and success. The Hundred-Foot Journey is a touching tale of cultural fusion, family, and the pursuit of one's dreams.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

Set in the American South during the 1930s, this heart-warming and humorous novel tells the story of two women, Idgie and Ruth, who open a small-town café serving delicious Southern fare. As their friendship and business flourish, they become pillars of their community, despite the challenges they face. Told through a series of vignettes, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a celebration of friendship, resilience, and the power of food to bring people together.

The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester

This darkly humorous novel follows the musings of Tarquin Winot, a sinister and narcissistic gourmet who shares his thoughts on food, art, and life through a series of elaborate menus. As the narrative unfolds, the true nature of Tarquin's character and his disturbing past are gradually revealed. The Debt to Pleasure is a clever and unsettling exploration of obsession, deception, and the darker side of culinary indulgence.

Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran

Set in a small Irish town, Pomegranate Soup follows the lives of three Iranian sisters who open a Persian café. As they introduce the locals to the exotic flavours of their homeland, the sisters find solace and acceptance in their new community. This heartwarming novel is a celebration of cultural diversity, sisterhood, and the healing power of food.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Set in the fast-paced world of New York City's fine dining scene, Sweetbitter tells the story of Tess, a young woman who lands a job at a prestigious restaurant. As she navigates the intense and often cutthroat environment, Tess becomes entangled in a love triangle and learns about the complexities of desire, ambition, and the pursuit of pleasure. This coming-of-age novel offers a raw and unflinching look at the world of food and the people who inhabit it.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

This unique and poignant novel tells the story of Rose Edelstein, a young girl who discovers she can taste the emotions of those who prepare her food. As she navigates the complexities of her newfound ability, Rose learns about the hidden lives of her family members and the power of empathy. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a thought-provoking exploration of the emotional connections we share through food.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

This swashbuckling adventure novel follows the story of Owen Wedgwood, a renowned chef who is kidnapped by the notorious pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot. Forced to cook exquisite meals for his captor, Owen finds himself drawn into a world of danger, intrigue, and unexpected alliances. Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a thrilling and imaginative tale that combines the excitement of high-seas adventure with the art of culinary creation.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

This captivating novel follows the life of Eva Thorvald, a young girl with a prodigious talent for cooking. As Eva grows up and pursues her culinary dreams, her life intersects with a colourful cast of characters, each with their own connection to food. Kitchens of the Great Midwest is a heart-warming and deliciously satisfying tale of family, ambition, and the power of food to shape our lives.

The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

This enchanting novel follows the life of Tilo, a woman with magical powers who runs a spice shop in Oakland, California. As the Mistress of Spices, Tilo uses her knowledge of the healing properties of spices to help her customers, while also grappling with her own desires and destiny. The Mistress of Spices is a mesmerising tale of love, magic, and the transformative power of spices.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

This charming epistolary novel is set in the aftermath of World War II and follows the correspondence between London-based writer Juliet Ashton and the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. As Juliet learns about society's wartime experiences and their love for literature, she becomes captivated by their stories and the unique potato peel pie recipe that brought them together. This heart-warming novel is a testament to the power of food, friendship, and the written word.

These food-based novels offer a delectable blend of storytelling and culinary inspiration. As readers immerse themselves in the lives of these memorable characters, they will undoubtedly find themselves craving the mouth-watering dishes described within the pages. So, grab a cup of tea, settle into a cosy chair, and start flipping the pages to the imaginary haven of food and fiction.