Pinch Of Chel

6 African Food Novels That Will Keep You Hungry For More

Sometimes it is hard for me to decide which is more comforting-eating food or reading novels.
I grew up as lover of books. I was ‘that child’ who when asked what she wanted for a birthday gift, always chose a book.

My love for food came later during my teen years maybe because my mom is a caterer.
As an avid reader, I savor the words in a book the same way that I savor food, and it wasn’t long before I realized the power of those two things when put together.

Here are 6 novels I am sure will delight your reading palate as much as they did mine.

GraceLand by Chris Abani


The book tells the story of a teenager named Elvis, who is trying to get out of the ghettos of Lagos, Nigeria. Woven into the story are a collection of recipes written as an incantation. In the novel, food is integrated into the narrative structure of the story.

How to Cook Your Husband the African Way by Calixthe Beyala-


It narrates the story of a woman who falls in love with her neighbour. Her neighbour however chases far too many girls and lives with his mother. Remembering her mother’s wisdom and the traditions of Africa, she sets out to cook her way to his heart.The book tells a magical but contemporary romance.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie-


He had already told Nigel many times that Nigerian cooking was not cosmetic, with all that pounding. It was sweaty and spicy and Nigerians preferred to present the final product, not the process.

A powerful, tender story of race and identity between two young lovebirds Ifemelu and Obinze. Throughout the book, there are references to food.

She made him the kind of jollof rice he liked, flecked with bits of red and green peppers, and as he ate, fork moving from the plate to his mouth, saying, “This is pretty good,” as he always had in the past, she felt her tears and her questions gathering.

Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex and Nigerian Taste Buds by Yemisi Aribisala


The novel is a series of love letters to the Nigerian palate and has a sumptuous menu of essays about Nigerian food. It examines one of the most enduring myths of the Nigerian Femme Fatale – mammy-water or winch‘ and the cooking of fish stew.

From Pasta to Pigfoot by Frances Mensah Williams


A contemporary, multi-cultural novel that tells the story of Faye Bonsu, a pasta-loving, underachieving PA whose upbringing in London has given her little opportunity to understand her African heritage. She undergoes a journey back to her native Ghana, where she finds love, culture galore and the confidence to fulfil her potential.

Recipes for Love and Murder by Sally Andrew


Tannie Maria is a middle-aged widow who loves cooking. She shares her culinary love as a recipe columnist for the local papers until they decide that its readers are hungrier for advice on matters of the heart rather than ideas for lunch and dinner. Tannie Maria doesn’t like the change, but when a woman gets murdered, this practical, down-to-earth woman is involved in something much more sinister than perfecting her chocolate cake recipe.

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