|Photo taken by Ms. C|
Bender tells the story of Rose, a young girl, who can taste emotions in her food. It is with only one bite of a lemon and chocolate cake that Rose discovers her mother's, the cake chef's, depression. Bender explores Rose's childhood, family turmoil, and her unique ability to trace emotions in food within this work.
Soon, Rose can not only taste a chef's emotions but the mechanization of the food industry. She can taste iron and machinery when eating processed foods. She can taste exactly where ingredients originated - what farm the beef came from, where the vegetables were harvested... right down to the details of a dish's spices and herbs.
Bender's book is very interesting... I love books which include food themes. Bender's characters' emotions are believable and her descriptions are rich. This book makes you think about many things - how food reaches us, makes us who we are, and can even destroy us.
However, the book does not remain on a "food -> ingredients -> emotions" theme. I found myself becoming less engaged with the book as Bender explored the Rose's family and as her brother became a central (and not as believable) character. I think the book could have been more profound if it had continued to focus on Rose's tasting abilities.
Bender, A. (2010). The particular sadness of lemon cake: A novel. New York: Anchor Books.