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7 International Food Stories for Thanksgiving

Posted on November 08, 2023

A bowl of ramen. Photo by Frank from 5 AM Ramen on Unsplash.

Food plays a central role in cultural celebrations around the world, and as we prepare for Thanksgiving feasts here in the US, we're revisiting seven stories that explore the importance of food: in everyday life, in our memories, and in our interpersonal relationships. Read on for steaming bowls of ramen, chewy rice cakes, and juicy hamburgers:

  • "The Kiso Wayfarer," from Japan, featuring a mysterious stranger bearing sushi
  • "When My Wife Was a Shiitake," from Japan, in which a widower discovers the transformative power of cooking
  • "Cavities and Kindness," also from Japan, in which a love affair ends over ramen
  • "Prison Memoirs," from one of the leaders of China's Tiananmen Square uprisings, who describes former prisoners' strange nostalgia for the corn buns in Qincheng Prison
  • "A Failed Journey," in which a schoolgirl attempts a trip to the newly opened Mexico City McDonald's
  • "Purépecha Mother," also from Mexico, a poem in tribute to a street cart vendor
  • "Injeolmi Rice Cakes," from Korea, in which the narrator recalls the treats his grandmother would sell at the market

To find literature around a topic or theme, you can visit the “Find” page and use the filters on the right-hand side—we have already organized collections around themes such as “Leaving Home,” “Love Stories,” and “Revolution.” Or, if you’re looking for a different theme, try the keyword search in the top box. And, of course, if you’d like to ask us for recommendations, just fill out the form on the “Contact” page.