I love short stories and food, not necessarily in that order, so I was elated to be given a D R C of a forthcoming very soon anthology devoted to short stories centering on food. I was delighted to see that Cooked Up Food Fiction From Around the World edited and introduced by Elaine Chiew contains stories by Rachel Fenton and Sue Guiney. I have previously posted on two of Rachel Fenton's wonderful short stories and she kindly did a very interesting Q and A session on my blog. Sue Guiney helped me do something relatively unique of which I am proud. She conducts for at risk Cambodia children fiction workshops in which participants express themselves in English through stories and poems drawn from their experiences. (A mastery of English is essential for professional success). I was given the honor of publishing many of these very moving works. I have also read and posted on two of Sue Guiney's set in Cambodia novels, both of which I highly recommend. I was also happy to see a short story by Krys Lee included, having enjoyed one of her works a while ago. The diversely selected other contributors all have very interesting bios. I have already posted on Elaine Chiew's story, dealing with Singaporean food culture, "Run of the Molars".
Today I will be posting on the wonderful story by Rachel Fenton, "Food Bank". A food bank, there is no such thing in the Philippines, is a charitable outlet that offers free food supplies for home use for those who are having serious hardships. As the story opens the female narrator is inside a food bank. She is talking to a woman who works there about two nights she spent with a man who made her chile. He has an evident routine in which he makes his women visitors chile. Chile is for many very much a comfort food, simple, warm, rich in flavor and very filling. We almost sense the woman is at least in part there for the food. The close of the story is poignant and powerful, we can feel the woman trying to maintain her pride in front of her son. There are lots of very subtle social class indicators in the story and the conversations are wonderfully wrought.