Bite by Bite: Nourishments and Jamborees (Hardcover)

Bite by Bite: Nourishments and Jamborees By Aimee Nezhukumatathil Cover Image
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“These essays are not just meditations on mouthwatering mastications of exotic fruits and savory favorites, but joyous and generous glimpses into the genius of a spirit that embraces the ascendance of the everyday into the sublime.”
— Emily Liner, Friendly City Books, Columbus, MS


From the New York Times bestselling author of World of Wonders, a lyrical book of short essays about food, offering a banquet of tastes, smells, memories, associations, and marvelous curiosities from nature

In Bite by Bite, poet and essayist Aimee Nezhukumatathil explores the way food and drink evoke our associations and remembrances—a subtext or layering, a flavor tinged with joy, shame, exuberance, grief, desire, or nostalgia.

Nezhukumatathil restores our astonishment and wonder about food through her encounters with a range of foods and food traditions. From shave ice to lumpia, mangoes to pecans, rambutan to vanilla, she investigates how food marks our experiences and identities and explores the boundaries between heritage and memory.

Bite by Bite offers a rich and textured kaleidoscope of vignettes and visions into the world of food and nature, drawn together by intimate and humorous personal reflections, with Fumi Nakamura’s gorgeous imagery and illustration.

About the Author

Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of the New York Times bestselling illustrated collection of nature essays World of Wonders, chosen as Barnes & Noble’s Book of the Year and as a finalist for the Kirkus Prize. She has published four award-winning poetry collections and is the poetry editor for Sierra magazine, the storytelling branch of the Sierra Club. She lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with her family and is a professor of English and creative writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program. 

Praise For…

“A collection of flavorful memories. . . . A graceful memoir. . . . not unlike halo-halo, a mixture of unexpected ingredients that make for a delectable dessert. . . . Savory food writing." — Kirkus

“Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s Bite by Bite is an intimate invitation to come sit at her table; each essay is studded with richly rendered traditions and unexpected anecdotes that range from tender to hilarious to downright devastating. A feast of a collection.” — Elizabeth Acevedo, author of Family Lore and The Poet X

“Over the years, Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s writing has fed me in ways I didn’t even know were possible. So it is appropriate, then, that she has now turned her attention to the world of food, which she writes about with such remarkable dexterity. Bite by Bite is a book about memory, pleasure, regret, and celebration. It uses food to talk about what it means to be human—to love, to learn, to laugh, to lose. Nezhukumatathil’s writing has changed the way I look at food, and made me infinitely more grateful for those whom I share it with. I love this book.” — Clint Smith, author of How the Word Is Passed and Above Ground

“Nezhukumatathil’s background as a poet is obvious throughout. Her writing is lyrical (some essays include poems), and her brevity shows her skill in word choice and description. Bite by Bite will be an especially good option for anyone trying to get out of a reading slump.” — Eater

“Nezhukumatathil’s prowess as a poet infuses this unique memoir meditation on the foods that mean the most to her. . . Each chapter weaves facts, trivia, mythology, and personal stories together, linking Nezhukumatathil's food subjects through space and time. . . She ties it all up with vivid prose that recalls the excitement of a mother anticipating her child eating their first handpicked berry. This whimsical and soothing work will appeal to fans of food writing, memoirs, intercultural stories, and poetry.” — Booklist

“A lively and delicious read. . . [Nezhukumatathil’s] book is an invitation to ask what nourishes us.” — Seattle Times

“With Bite by Bite, the author of World of Wonders is gifting us a collection of essays about how food is inherently tied to our memories and emotions. From shaved ice to rambutan to lumpia, what we eat and drink can summon feelings of joy, grief, and nostalgia, just as it carves out ethnic boundaries.” — Book Riot

“Nezhukumatathil weaves a personal memoir through food...[She] doesn’t waver. Food can be a map toward home, toward memory, toward lineage, her book argues. And with it, she beckons us to explore.” —

“Delightful...The book of bite-sized essays...take readers on a gastronomic tour around the world...[Nezhukumatathil’s] writing is much more than an exploration of nourishment. It’s also an invitation.” — Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

“A smorgasbord of concise and lyrical odes to foods linked to some of her most important memories. . . .The author’s dazzling prose is the highlight.”? — Publishers Weekly

“From crispy fried sticks of lumpia to sugar-sweet watermelon, these lyrical essays dive deep into the joys of flavor and being alive to savor it all.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“Nezhukumatathil catalogs how food – whether nourishing family or consumed among friends — charges her imagination...Fumi Nakamura’s illustrations add lush visual representations of the foods and flora that Nezhukumatathil takes up in this new book’s forty essays. Frequently, the author’s riffs close with notes of wonderment, merriment, delight, or celebration...Charming and skillfully sculpted, Bite by Bite compels readers to engage their own delicious memories and complex inheritances.” — Boston Globe

“So often, the first and most powerful memories we have of our parents and families of origin center around food. The flavors of our childhood can contextualize who we are and where we came from, and who we want to become. In her new book, Bite by Bite...Nezhukumatathil interrogates the way food and drink intertwines with our human experiences and identities and explores the often murky boundaries between heritage and memory.” — People

“As she shares her memories around her favorite foods, each essay celebrates Nezhukumatathil’s life. She has such a unique way of giving readers glimpses of her life, giving us details about her family’s love of mangos or parties of all kinds featuring lumpia. Every dish or ingredient holds a special place in her heart. With its illustrations, Bite by Bite is the perfect gift book for any food lover. Fumi Nakamura illustrates the foods featured in every chapter, making each essay feel unique.” — Book Riot

“Essay collections are excellent vacation reads, able to be picked up and put down without interrupting a narrative. Each of these short essays is a perfect little bite, exploring the ways food sparks memory and meaning in our lives.” — USA Today

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063282261
ISBN-10: 0063282267
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: April 30th, 2024
Pages: 224
Language: English