MAGICAL BAKING IN 6 BOOKS OF FANTASTIC FOOD FICTION

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Two of the most alluring elements in literature are magic and food. It’s a certain formula for an interesting read, whether the magic is in the dish, done by the baker, or takes some other shape.

When discussing magical foods, people frequently cite a small number of outstanding but out-of-date books. Despite being more than three decades old, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel is still a favorite (and with good reason!). The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a little bit more recent (but still from the previous millennium).

It’s understandable why readers keep going back to works by Esquivel and Divakaruni. After all, they were excellent when they were first released and remain so now! But a lot of fresh writing in the field of magical food fiction has emerged in the decades after its debut.

Two that immediately spring to mind are Aimee Bender’s The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells (along with its sequel, First Frost). But even those were released more than ten years ago, so I’ve put together a list to whet your appetite for more recent works in the spirit of giving you some freshly baked magical food fiction.

These works range in tone from the lighthearted to the romantic to the slightly spooky. You may select from a variety of amazing treats on this list. I hope you are able to locate a small snack.

A TASTE OF SAGE

BY YAFFA S. SANTOS

https://amzn.to/3dw2F4c

The way that A Taste of Sage jazzes up a now-common magical food motif is intriguing. Lumi Santana may taste other people’s emotions through their cuisine rather than the protagonist baking their goods with emotions or spells for the eater to feel. When Lumi is forced to close her own Dominican fusion restaurant and work for temperamental, well-known chef Julien Dax, it makes for an exciting trip. I enjoyed reading it, for sure!

MAGIC, LIES, AND DEADLY PIES

BY MISHA POPP

https://amzn.to/3fa6BYM

“It was an accident the first time I murdered a man with a pie.” So starts Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies, a cozy mystery by Misha Popp. Daisy Ellery bakes revenge straight into her pies, in contrast to other magical bakers who frequently infuse their baked delicacies with love! Men who mistreat the women in their life should suffer the repercussions, and this feminist femme fatale serves them to them. A letter-writing blackmailer threatens Daisy’s mobile bakery (Pies Before Guys, hehe), and Daisy must solve the case quickly to save her from going out of business.

NATALIE TAN’S BOOK OF LUCK AND FORTUNE

BY ROSELLE LIM

https://amzn.to/3Uu8Jer

Natalie Tan comes home after the passing of her estranged mother. However, Chinatown has changed significantly since she left since gentrification is displacing her former neighbors and local businesses are struggling. Additionally, the gifted young chef finds that she has inherited her grandmother’s (long-gone) restaurant following the passing of her mother. The neighborhood fortuneteller advises her that in order for her restaurant to be successful, she must prepare three of her grandmother’s dishes in order to (magically) assist her neighbors. She does, however, lack a few crucial family recipe pages. Oh, and I should also say that this is all being accompanied with an unexpected romance!

GINGERBREAD

BY HELEN OYEYEMI

https://amzn.to/3xEqRbD

That much is certain: this isn’t the Hansel and Gretel tale you would have read as a child. The protagonists are Harriet Lee and Perdita, whose life is in danger. Although Harriet’s famed gingerbread isn’t magical, adding a hidden ingredient to it brings Perdita dangerously close to passing away. Harriet feels compelled to explain to her daughter how she fled Druhástrana, the place where she was born and which is generally accepted to be a myth. We get to meet Gretel Kercheval, discover Harriet’s problematic background, and catch a peek of a completely new interpretation of the witch in the woods in classic Oyeyemi fashion (i.e., storytelling genius).

THE MAGICAL BAKERY MYSTERY SERIES

BY BAILEY CATES

https://amzn.to/3qVPeOk

I have a series for you if you enjoy a nice cozy mystery and are looking for one that blends magic and cuisine. The Magical Bakery Mystery Series has 10 books so far, with Spirits and Sourdough being the tenth. The show centers on Savannah, Georgia, bakery entrepreneur Katie Lightfoot, who is also a witch. In addition to adding little charms and spells to her baked goodies, Katie utilizes her magical abilities to assist her solve the mysteries she constantly seems to become herself in. She goes on a ghost tour in Spirits and Sourdough and learns that a recently deceased woman’s spirit is stalking her. She even met the deceased woman just before she passed away! Katie has a family mystery to solve in addition to attempting to identify the perpetrator.

LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE

BY PAUL KRUEGER

https://amzn.to/3UsMR32

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge was thrown into the mix because I couldn’t help myself. Mixing is the key; baking is not. alternatively, mixology. Yes, the topic of this one is magical drinks! Bailey Chen, the main character, sorely needs telekinesis since it turns out that monsters are real and she will have to combat them. Different spirits give various skills, such as telekinesis, for example. Bailey must strike a balance between her duty to battle evil and her goals to become a young professional in the face of a spate of violent killings afflicting the neighborhood.

I’m thinking about baking some bread for the fall equinox and curling up with one of these. What about you? Let me know if you check one out and what you think of it.

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