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Book Review: Eat Up! By Ruby Tandoh

By Julia Everett, BA International Relations and Development Studies

Eat Up! is not a regular cook book. It will not tell you what or how to eat. This book subverts what we think we know about food, and how we think it should be written about. As a society we are so used to fashionable discourse surrounding food, with buzz words like ‘clean eating’ and ‘superfoods’ and trends boasting avocados and chia seeds that fade as soon as they arrive. Tandoh turns this on its head and suggests that our relationship with food requires a radical revamp. Her idea: we should eat what we want, and enjoy it, too.

The author Ruby Tandoh, of Great British Bake-Off fame, uses her experiences to reflect upon the complicated world of food whilst weaving in wider political and historical narratives. She writes of the influence her Ghanaian and British heritage has on her unique palate while also discussing what the idea of ‘authentic’ cuisine really means. She explores the world of food, sexuality, gender, and power politics in a refreshing and witty style, discussing important issues across without taking herself too seriously. The book is strewn with pop culture references and anecdotes, from When Harry Met Sally to the Black Panther Party, making it a light and easy read.

More than anything, the charm of Eat Up! is that it will teach you how to fall in love with food. As students, what we eat can seem dull and boring due to lack of time and funds. Tandoh shows that the even cheapest fast food can bring us pure joy, and that cooking the most budget student meal is something to be relished. Food snobbery is not something to be found in Tandoh’s writing.

Eat Up! provides a new and refreshing take on the world of food and cooking, in a way that is easy to swallow and leaves a pleasant aftertaste.

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