Congrats to Yemisi Aribisala! Her essay collection on Nigerian food and culinary culture is set for an October 31 release. We can objectively and authoritatively say that you have never encountered anything like this in the 100+ years of modern African writing.
Here is why:
Longthroat Memoirs presents a sumptuous menu of essays about Nigerian food, lovingly presented by the nation’s top epicurean writer. As well as a mouth-watering appraisal of the cultural politics and erotics of Nigerian cuisine, it is also a series of love letters to the Nigerian palate. From innovations in soup, fish as aphrodisiac and the powerful seductions of the yam, Longthroat Memoirs examines the complexities, the peculiarities, the meticulousness, and the tactility of Nigerian food. Nigeria has a strong culture of oral storytelling, of myth creation, of imaginative traversing of worlds. Longthroat Memoirs collates some of those stories into an irresistible soup-pot, expressed in the flawless love language of appetite and nourishment. A sensuous testament on why, when and how Nigerians eat the food they love to eat; this book is a welcome addition to the global dining table of ideas.
We’ve been fans of Aribisala’s work for a while now. Remember last year, when we shared Aribisala’s beautiful essay on pepper? Take it from us when we say that, with this book, Aribisala is essentially going to change the way we think and talk about food within the African context.
Even more remarkable is the cover image designed by UK-based artist Lynn Hatzius. She’s designed covers for Cassava Republic in the past. But with this cover, she’s completely out done herself. The palette is vivid and eye-catching. All that burst of colors is happiness-inducing, not to mention the collage of flowers, butterflies, and pomegranate wrapped around Aribibasala’s beautiful face.
Hatzius told us that she very much wanted to capture the emotional force behind the cultures, identities, and memories we create around food.
“My intention behind this cover,” she writes, “was to show how food culture is an engrained part of us. It grows over years and is passed on through generations forming an integral part of a person’s identity. Food doesn’t simply still our hunger, it reaches deeper, it touches the soul and awakens memories and emotions that warm our hearts. Taste can be very individual, but in all cultures it brings people together, to dine, to talk, to share. I wanted the cover image to convey the joy of this and to invite the reader into Yemisi Aribisala’s own celebration of food.”
Congrats to Aribasala! And kudos to Cassava Republic for putting out such a brilliant and gorgeous book.