A Moveable Feast:
What’s more important in meals, food or company? That question is one of the one’s that Dining with Donald is intensely interested in. It’s the contention of this blog that the latter should be more important. I’ve found that most food writing tends to emphasize the former. So, I’m always happy when I find a book where the main focus is on the eating together aspect.
One such book is, A Moveable Feast, subtitled “Life Changing Food Adventures Around the World.” A Moveable Feast was published in 2010. It’s an offshoot of the Lonely Planet Guides. The book features works by a wide variety of writers. Some, such as Anthony Bourdain, are internationally reknowned. Others, such as Emily Matchar, don’t have the same public profiles.
All of the writers share a love of travel and food. In this compilation the emphasis is on the ways food has brought people togetherIn some cases though, it’s on how food has driven them apart. Matchar’s story fall into the driven apart camp. Her story recalls travels with a boyfriend. Travels where difrering attitudes to food foreshadowed other differences.
One theme that recurs through out the book is the kindness of strangers. Kindness demonstrated to the travelers in the meals they are offered. It’s these stories more than any others thatshifts the focus from the food being offered to the people who are offering it. Sometimes the food gifts are quite simple, such as the glass of orange juice offered to Johanna Gohmann. Others, such as the Nepaese feast given for Jeff Greenwald, are quite extravagant meals. Other times the food offered is very close to being a literal life saver.
Throughout A Moveable Feast, the writers come to a greater understanding of themselves and the people they meet through the meals they share. This is humourously and particularly well displayed in the final story in the collection, The Rooster’s Head in the Soup. In this story the author cleverly shows how some food experiences and responses are the same no matter where you travel.
This is an easy read. A Moveable Feast is another one of those books that you can easily read straight through. You can just as easily sit and enjoy chapter by chapter. These are companions that you will enjoy traveling with, and most appear to be companions that you would wish to dine with. Put A Moveable Feast on your bookshelf. Better yet, stick it in your travel bag.