Do you consider yourself a “foodie”? Do you like to try new or exotic fruits from the market/store that seem utterly odd to you, but hey, YOLO? (IE: Have you ever seen a jackfruit & did you know they are quite popular w/ vegans as a meat alternative for their protein content? And they are huge & look like mutant watermelons!)
If so, then ‘The Book of Difficult Fruit‘ by Kate Lebo will surely appeal to you & also to readers that enjoy well-crafted, engaging, lyrical writing & so much more. Thank you to Farrar, Straus, & Giroux Publishing for my gift copy of this delicious & intriguing book, released on 4/6!
Accurately described as a “glorious mash-up of memoir, love note & cookbook” by Vulture magazine in an article called Best New Books of 2021, ‘The Book of Difficult Fruit‘ is an amazingly original feast of words, with surprising facts, an abundance of insight & information, & one of those books you’ll be happy to have stepped out of your readerly comfort zone & read.
Inspired by twenty-six fruits, essayist, poet, & pie lady Kate Lebo expertly blends natural, culinary, medical, & personal history..A is for Aronia, berry member of the apple family, clothes-stainer, superfruit with reputed healing power. D is for Durian, endowed with a dramatic rind & a shifty odor–peaches, old garlic.
M is for medlar, name-checked by Shakespeare for its crude shape, beloved by gardeners for its flowers. Q is for quince, which, when fresh, gives off the scent of “roses and citrus and rich women’s perfume,” but if eaten raw is so astringent it wicks the juice from one’s mouth.
In this work of unique invention, these & other difficult fruits serve as the central ingredients of twenty-six lyrical essays (and recipes!) that range from deeply personal to botanical, from culinary to medical, from humorous to philosophical.
The entries are associative, often poetic, taking unexpected turns & giving sideways insights into life, relationships, self-care, modern medicine, & more. What if the primary way you show love is to bake, but your partner suffers from celiac disease? Why leave in the pits for Willa Cather’s Plum Jam? How can we rely on bodies as fragile as the fruits that nourish them?
Taking you on an engaging, illuminating, culinary adventure, Kate Lebo’s unquenchable curiosity promises adventure: intimate, sensuous, ranging, bitter, challenging, rotten, ripe. After reading ‘The Book of Difficult Fruit‘, you will never think of sweetness the same way again.
Click HERE to go to my post on Instagram, & while you’re there, check out my latest giveaways (2 of them!) by clicking HERE & HERE.
You can also click on the highlighted book titles above to add ‘The Book of Difficult Fruit’ to your Goodreads lists. There are currently 50 copies of the book up for grabs in a current Goodreads giveaway (ends 5/23, US only). Click HERE to go to the giveaway.
Kate Lebo’s first collection of nonfiction, The Book of Difficult Fruit, is forthcoming from FSG and Picador in April 2021. She is the author of the cookbook Pie School (Sasquatch Books), the poetry chapbook Seven Prayers to Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Entre Rios Books), and co-editor with Samuel Ligon of Pie & Whiskey: Writers Under the Influence of Butter and Booze (Sasquatch Books). Her essay about listening through hearing loss, “The Loudproof Room,” originally published in New England Review, was anthologized in Best American Essays 2015.
Her poems and essays have appeared in This is the Place: Women Writing About Home, Ghosts of Seattle Past, Best New Poets, Gettysburg Review, Willow Springs, Moss, Catapult, and Poetry Northwest, among other places.
Through the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions she is an apprenticed cheesemaker to Lora Lea Misterly of Quillisascut Farm. She lives in Spokane, Washington.