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Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar: Stories of Food during Wartime by the World's Leading Correspondents (California Studies in Food and Culture) Hardcover – October 20, 2011
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From the Inside Flap
Compelling and powerful, these personal accounts by reporters assigned to hot spots from Haiti to Kosovo, from Rwanda to Kandahar, cut to the bone. They expose the hard truth that hunger for survival is as universal as battle, that food itself is a metaphor for war, and that eating is war by other means. This is a brilliant collection of stories that satisfies our hunger for words with the intensity of our hunger to live.” Betty Fussell, author of My Kitchen Wars and Raising Steaks
These are powerful, intimate stories from some of the best war correspondents of our time--the kind of stories they tell each other about everyday life in some of the most difficult places on Earth. By seducing you with simple tales of food, your defenses are down, you get lost in a good tale, and then, suddenly, you realize that you are fascinated by and finally understand a part of the world that had previously just been confusing and overwhelming. With one great read after another, you will remember these scenes, these characters, for a long time.” Adam Davidson, founder and host, NPR's Planet Money
"The way to a nation's soul is through its stomach, and that is precisely the territory that these writers explore in this delightful anthology. Whether breaking bread with Palestinian militants, enduring army rations with US troops in Afghanistan or attempting to cook a turkey in Baghdad, they write with dollops of humanity, heapings of insight, and a dash of humor. Read this book but be forewarned: you’ll turn the last page hungry for more." Eric Weiner, author of The Geography of Bliss
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There are a few non-war stories. Eating as a foreigner in a hostile China, and the meals of the future leader of North Korea, while his people are dying around him. Although these lapses detract from the premise, this book is nevertheless a fine read.
The stories are largely first-person, with the words beautifully woven to put you in the wars in Bosnia, Serbia, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Georgia, and more. Some of the journalists ate better than any of the locals, because they had money in a situation where the locals were being systematically starved. Some of the journalists hardly ate at all, because they could not find food, and they had not brought enough with them. Being in a war zone for an extended period apparently requires a bit of planning. And some were treated to fabulous meals by locals, even though those locals had little to give: they shared what they had.
I enjoyed especially reading these stories in their well-written journalistic style. The editor obviously chose the best of the war reporters and photographers to write these stories. I am delighted to have spent the past few days with these professionals.
The writing is great, but that is to be expected. I hope that the editor puts together another collection in the same vein.