In The Uncommon Feast, Eileen Chong gives us a collection of poetry, essays and recipes that remark on how food has shaped her life, her way of understanding her world, and the world of connections with those around her. For Chong, food is an act of sharing and an act of generosity. Here, she shares with you a collection of her poems on food, essays that chart the meaning of food and poetry in her life, and even a secret recipe or two. Includes illustrations by Colin Cassidy.
From the Afterword:
Cooking is a creative act, like writing poetry. There is a tradition of poems about food, about the preparing of it, the sharing of it, that I am drawing on. Gastronomic poetry is wonderful. I have written about Chinese mooncakes, xiao long bao, rice-dumplings, Hokkien prawn noodles of course… Congee is one of my comfort foods and is a bit of a personal symbol for me. Things like mussels, bagels, lemon drizzle cake also make brief appearance in my poems. I think that one acquires recipes and foods through people and experiences in a way one might acquire history and culture. It’s about sharing, assimilation, translation, recreation, and nourishment.
From the Introduction by Judith Beveridge:
The poems in The Uncommon Feast are not simply listings of culinary expertise and delights, they are above all explorations of relationships in their many manifestations.