11 Canadian books about food to check out this summer

Are you hungry for a good book? Here are 11 books — cookbooks, novels, nonfiction and children's books — that celebrate food.

Hungry for a good book? Here are 11 Canadian books — cookbooks, novels, nonfiction and children's books — that celebrate food.

Free the Tipple by Jennifer Croll, illustrated by Kelly Shami

Jennifer Croll is the author of Free the Tipple. (Rebecca Blissett, Prestel Publishing)

In her book of original cocktail recipes, Free the Tipple, Vancouver author and editor Jennifer Croll pays tribute to 60 influential women, including Margaret Atwood, Frida Kahlo, Rihanna, Serena Williams, Virginia Woolf and more. Each drink incorporates accessible ingredients inspired by its namesake. 

Chop Suey Nation by Ann Hui

Chop Suey Nation by is a nonfiction book by Ann Hui. (Amanda Palmer, Douglas & McIntyre)

In Chop Suey Nation, Ann Hui drives to small towns across Canada and visits the family-run Chinese restaurants that dot the country. She also discovers her own family's secrets of working in the industry. Hui, a journalist with the Globe and Mail, begins her journey as an authenticity snob, but comes to appreciate the determination and enterprise of families across the nation.

Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock by Dallas Hunt, illustrated by Amanda Strong

Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock is a picture book by Dallas Hunt and illustrated by Amanda Strong. (Highwater Press)

Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock is a gentle story about a young girl taking her Kôhkum's (grandmother's) world-famous bannock to a relative. But she has a little mishap along the way and turns to other-than-human relatives for assistance. There is a Cree word list in the back as well as a recipe for Kôhkum's bannock. 

The Prairie Table by Karlynn Johnston

The Prairie Table is a cookbook by Karlynn Johnston. (Appetite, Karlynn Johnston)

Karlynn Johnston is a bestselling cookbook author and is behind the popular food blog the Kitchen Magpie. In The Prairie Table she shares over 100 recipes of prairie comfort food, meant to be shared by families big and small. The book includes recipes for Grandma Ellen's cold picnic barbecue fried chicken, mango, avocado and arugula salad and piña colada sour cream squares.

Lunch Quest by Chris Kuzma

Lunch Quest is a comic by Chris Kuzma. (Submitted by Koyama Press)

In Lunch Quest, a hungry rabbit goes searching for lettuce and instead finds a universe of skater kids in his lettuce cubby. Zany adventures await the characters of this bright and colourful comic book. Chris Kuzma is a freelance illustrator based in Toronto. Lunch Quest is his first all-ages graphic novel.

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck & Fortune is a novel by Roselle Lim. (Berkley, Shelley Smith)

Natalie Tan returns to her childhood home after the death of her mother, a woman she hadn't spoken to in seven years. Natalie is surprised to find that she's inherited her grandmother's restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown, a neighbourhood struggling to keep businesses open. A seer reads Natalie's tea leaves and instructs her to make three of her grandmother's recipes in order to save the community.

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune is Roselle Lim's first book.

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta

Frying Plantain is a short story collection by Zalika Reid-Benta. (House of Anansi Press)

Frying Plantain follows Kara Davis through elementary school to her high school graduation, as she comes of age while being perennially caught between her Canadian nationality and Jamaican heritage. Over a series of 12 stories, Davis visits her great aunt in Jamaica, endures a cruel prank by close friends and deals with her stubborn grandparents. Throughout the book, Davis finds comfort and connection through food. 

Frying Plantain is Zalika Reid-Benta's first book.

The Little Island Bake Shop by Jana Roerick

The Little Island Bake Shop is a cookbook by Jana Roerick. (Figure 1 Publishing)

Jana Roerick has been the proprietor of a small bakery, Jana's Bake Shop, on Salt Spring Island, B.C., for 15 years. Her second book features 80 recipes for desserts like espresso cookies, pecan caramel squares and strawberry rhubarb pies. 

The Little Island Bake Shop is already a bestseller in B.C.

Pantry and Palate by Simon Thibault

Simon Thibault is the author of Pantry and Palate: Remembering and Rediscovering Acadian Food. (Noah Fecks, Nimbus Publishing)

A few years ago, journalist and food writer Simon Thibault received a cache of old notebooks filled with family recipes from his mother. It was handwritten, with footnotes and annotations from each generation. It became the basis for Thibault's cookbook Pantry and Palatewhich celebrates Acadian cooking.

The book collects 50 recipes, including Fring Frangs (potato pancakes), rappie pie and chicken fricot.

Coconut Lagoon by Joe Thottungal

Coconut Lagoon is a cookbook by Joe Thottungal. (Figure 1 Publishing)

Ottawa chef Joe Thottungal hails originally from Kerala in southwestern India, a region famous for its lush scenery and delicious cuisine. Thottungal, owner of the restaurant Coconut Lagoon, collects 80 recipes for home cooks, featuring authentic southern Indian dishes like mango pickle, dosa and malabar parathas. 

Coconut Lagoon is Thottungal's first cookbook.

Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen by Kim Thúy

Kim Thuy is a Montreal writer and is the author of the cookbook Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen. (Appetite by Random House, Jean-François Brière)

Kim Thúy, author of the award-winning novel Ru, is also a talented chef. Thúy offers a collection of flavorful recipes in Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen and profiles the women who raised her to love cooking and sharing meals. Her mother and five aunts each have their own unique story to tell about Vietnam and their connection to food.


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