Stylist’s books editor Francesca Brown selects November’s best 11 books you need to read.
“<In English to cook something up means to prepare food, but also to invent stories or schemes, to concoct something out of fantasy.> Be My Guest is a nourishing celebration of global culture and creeds (Basil’s family would regularly host ‘kitty parties’ in which Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs would each bring dishes to eat together) and the meaning of sharing food with friends, family and beyond. It’s also a thoughtful reflection on where we’re at in a world where migrants are demonised and where some people have everything and other people have nothing. Written with poetry and heart, Basil manages to unite huge themes that affect us all while capturing the beauty of sharing."
Make yourselves at home:
the meaning of hospitality in a divided world
The act of welcoming and feeding strangers can transcend borders.
Priya Basil discovers the power of unconditional hospitality
Be My Guest
By: Hephzibah Anderson, The Observer Books, Sun 27 Oct 2019
Reading this slender, rich exploration of what it means to cook for others is like pulling up a chair at the ideal dinner party. The food is mouth-watering – creamy curries, candied baobab seeds, fat slices of homemade pizza – but just as nourishing is the conversation, which embraces hospitality in its many guises, from the strained welcome received by Syrian refugees in the author’s adoptive Germany to the langar, a free meal served in Sikh temples. We’re treated as well to encounters with her grandmother, Mumji, a doler-out of tyrannically large portions who deploys her culinary gifts first to impress her husband, then to oppress him. Add a pinch of Derrida and a slug of retro pop culture, and you’ve got an irresistible amuse-bouche.