If you’re writing a memoir but finding yourself rambling without a narrative focus, you may want to jump on the food memoir bandwagon. Food memoirs are becoming so commonplace that the Literary Foodie blogger lists several hundred you might be interested in reading. Among the most popular are Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential; Blood, Bones & Butter, by Gabrielle Hamilton, Julie Powell’s book-to-movie Julie and Julia and Julia Child’s own My Life in France; Beaten, Seared and Sauced, by Jonathan Dixon; A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle and Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table, by Ruth Reichl.
But let’s talk about you. If you’re not a celebrity chef or even a good cook, why might you want to write a food memoir?
We all eat, so food is something that draws in the reader. It’s multisensory; you can describe the look, texture, smell and taste. And it’s a memory trigger. We may be more likely to remember what we ate on a certain night at our favorite restaurant than who was in our company that evening. We all have dishes we associate with growing up, romances, routines, special life events and general indulging. By calling upon that aspect of your memory cache, you provide a focus and establish a consistent thread for your memoir. As an underlying theme, food can be symbolic, the topic lends itself to humor and a food memoir is the perfect vehicle if you want to write only about a limited period of your life.