Welcome to another stop of today’s food crawl for Hungry Hearts! Today, alongside Kate from Your Tita Kate, we will be highlighting the story from Rin Chupeco entitled Sugar and Spite. I am especially ecstatic because today in the Philippines, we are also celebrating our Independence Day! It’s not really a ‘July 4th’ kind of shindig, but it is a national holiday. And when there’s a holiday, there’s an excuse to eat good food. But when it comes to Hungry Hearts, it offers so much more than that.
Title: Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love
Edited by: Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond
Hardcover, 352 pages
Date Published: 18th of June 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Add to Goodreads
From some of your favorite bestselling and critically acclaimed authors—including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco—comes a collection of interconnected short stories that explore the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives of thirteen teens.
A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the confections she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that could cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.
Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one and the same.
Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.
We’re going to stray with the typical review for the meantime. I’m honestly giddy that I am actually posting this today. Being the historical nerd that I am, I want to give you some fun facts on why today is the perfect day to post this joyful crawl. (Which I love because I sincerely believe that the hosts considered the date as a perfect stop for the tour. Thank you so much, CW and Vicky! <3)
On June 12, 1898, we officially declared our liberation from 333 years of Spanish colonization. But did you know that we actually have another one? What is now known to be Philippine-American Friendship Day became our Independence Day from the American regime on July 4, 1946. Funny thing is, after the declaration there was this whole thing about Spain selling the islands for $20 million dollars. We have a third one as well, since Japan also took over the islands during World War II. In hindsight though I think it is rather fitting to celebrate our independence on June 12 because of the impact that Spain has etched itself in our country.
Anyways, with that little tidbit aside, let us talk about today’s stop for the food crawl! Rin Chupeco has written an insightful story that ties magic with the emotions that we feel while we cook. The intensity of the food being served makes sense, because it is a reflection; a mirror one might say of the various feelings that a human soul can have. Rin incorporated ‘kulam’, a form of “an eye for an eye” sort of magic wherein you have to exchange something to get the magic that you want done to another person in return in the story, and having tied it to food made with passion makes it eerily wonderful. While I was caught off-guard at first by the perspective of the story, I realized that it had a ring to it. The way the story went made it feel more intimate and personal. What made me personally resonate and feel for the story is its main essence: its heart. The dishes particularly mentioned felt like home to me. When the lolas serve the dishes, it reminds me of my own lola (even though we are not biologically related) and my nanay making those meals. As the story goes, while the recipes are handed down from one to the other, there is a balance in following what is taught and what can be done to call the dish your own.
It is easy to love the story when you can say “Yes, I can see myself in this story because my lola and my nanay says the same thing.” Or when the narrative tells you that “Yes, you can experiment and do things your way, but you have to earn the right to do it.” Because YES, this is Filipino cooking in a nutshell. You can learn about it a certain way, but when the time comes you can and it is amazing if you learn how to make one dish your own. YES, you have to be strong when people make you feel bad for being yourself but there are stakes to weigh if all your heart wants is revenge.
That being said, and before I say anything else that can and will spoil the story, I highly recommend Filipino readers to give Sugar and Spite a read when they want to engross themselves with Hungry Hearts. It is wonderfully written, with heart-hitting notes about our dishes and magical realism integrated to heighten your senses.
Also hot tip: Read Hungry Hearts if you are actually full. I mean I can only speak for the Filipino food represented in this anthology, but I got the mad case of the cravings with every food that was mentioned. AND THERE WERE A LOT. Honestly speaking, Rin made the best choice of highlighting one, yet incorporating tons of dishes in the narrative. Because in all seriousness, how can you just choose one dish? The insanity of it all.
Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching.
Connect with Rin!
Elsie Chapman grew up in Prince George, Canada, and has a degree in English literature from the University of British Columbia. She is the author of the YA novels Dualed, Divided, Along the Indigo, and Caster as well as the MG novel All the Ways Home, and co-editor of A Thousand Beginnings and Endings and Hungry Hearts. She currently lives in Tokyo, Japan, with her family.
Photo Credit: Michael Meskin
Connect with Elsie!
Caroline Tung Richmond is an award-winning young adult author, whose historical novels include The Only Thing to Fear, The Darkest Hour, and Live In Infamy. She’s also the co-editor of the anthology Hungry Hearts, which features stories about food and will come out in June 2019 from Simon Pulse. Her work is represented by Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich.
Caroline is also the Program Director of We Need Diverse Books, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that advocates for diversity in children’s publishing.
After growing up in the Washington, D.C. area Caroline now lives in Virginia with her family.
Connect with Caroline!
Hungry Hearts gives a huge spotlight on the cuisines that we love and care for the most. When I signed up, I had this huge idea of wanting to maybe do something different and will drive me to do something out of my comfort zone. So I went with digitally drawing Filipino food. Sugar and Spite briefly mentioned a lot of dishes, so there was this whole thing about the pressure of trying to draw them all. Then I thought, why not just share my favorite ones? If I were to choose three dishes that will prove my worth to my grandmothers, these will be my top picks.
The first one would have to be Sinigang sa Miso. I have a love-hate relationship with the regular sinigang because it’s usually a hit-or-miss for me and the flavor doesn’t seem to be consistent. But when it comes to Sinigang sa Miso, even if we use different types of fish or even if we lack just one ingredient, the flavors still come together to form the hearty zesty soup that I want to drink when I’m having a bad day.
The second one would have to be Pancit Canton. While this dish is derived from noodles, us Filipinos put our own spin on it that made it our own thing to serve at birthdays (or even holidays!!). It is fairly easy to make, but what I love about it is that it is wonderful comfort food in all its glory. At its core is the noodles, but when you a little kick to it you can always add anything out of the blue. Carrots, lettuce, eggs… the possibilities are endless and it always leaves you full and satisfied. (Plus I’m also trash for the instant one we have here. I know it’s bad for me but it’s just so good especially when there’s an egg on top.)
The third and final dish would have to be Caldereta. For anyone who has trouble differentiating it with menudo, afritada, mechado, it’s time to pick the king of the orange dishes. It’s like beef stew, but elevated to perfection with the tomato sauce, liver spread, and peanut butter (and CHEESE!! Friends, take note! It adds tanginess!). I personally prefer beef, but even vegetable caldereta works. My nanay can make this as spicy as she wants it to be and I will still finish it until my plate is clean. It’s my favorite dish in the world, and I hope I can one day earn the right to cook it myself.
June 10th – Introduction
Vicky (Welcome + Interview)
June 11th – Karuna Riazi
June 12th – Rin Chupeco
June 13th – Jay Coles
Nikki (Review + Creative Post)
June 14th – Elsie Chapman
June 15th – Sara Farizan
June 16th – Caroline T. Richmond
June 17th – Adi Alsaid
Moon (Review + Creative Post)
June 18th – Sandhya Menon
June 19th – S. K. Ali
Mish (Review + Creative Post)
June 20th – Phoebe North
Kayla (Review + Aesthetic/Mood board)
June 21st – Rebecca Roanhorse
June 22nd – Sangu Mandanna
June 23rd – Anna-Marie McLemore
Nox (Review + Creative Post)
June 24th – Closing
CW (Review + Food Crawl)
Two winners – 1 U.S. and 1 international reader has the chance to win a finished copy of Hungry Hearts! Click on the giveaway button or here.
What is your favorite food? How hungry are you for Hungry Hearts?