This one is a wonderful book for our challenge–the saltwater coastal marsh where Kya lives is a vibrant vital part of her life, and an integral part of the story. The marsh birds are present not just in their calls, but in their individual feathers and characteristics–some of them incredibly detailed: the crest feathers of […]

The food mentioned in So Far From God by Ana Castillo, is an important part of the setting–it definitely sets the book squarely in New Mexico. And it’s authentic, homemade New Mexican fare–no Frito pies here! However, I do have to admit that I was a little frustrated by it. It’s mentioned so matter-of-factly that […]

Devil’s club is mentioned very briefly in The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones, when Tara shows Connor the sights of Port Anna. “She led him to the bank, holding back thorny branches of devil’s club.” There’s really no other mention of the plant in the book, or any indication of what it is. From what […]

Alodiks are mentioned several times in And She Was by Cindy Dyson, as being a type of Russian fry bread. Brandy is first introduced to them by Carl who makes them for the party at his bus home. They are also served at the tsunami party, and mentioned in one of the flashback scenes with […]

I started thinking about how food enhances setting while I was reading The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones, and that, pretty quickly, made me remember a food moment from And She Was by Cindy Dyson – the decayed seal flipper. There’s a scene in And She Was where Brandy and some of the others from […]

In The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones, the old Tlingit man, Betteryear, teaches the protagonist Tara to gather wild mushrooms and other items, which they use to make a meal together. There are some beautiful passages from this part of the book, describing the food and how it is made, which really bring the setting […]

As I read The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones, I came to a wonderful passage about a meal that Tara and the old Tlingit man, Betteryear, make from the wild mushrooms they have gathered. I realized that this was an example of the kind of detail that makes the setting of a book real–much as […]