Reading* Challenge – Book and Food

Picture of a darker-skinned hand seasoning a dish of chopped-up purple shallots or onions, orange veggies, in a black clay dish, on a wood table. Photo by Dapur Melodi on

Several years ago on a whim, I made a BINGO board for food and books/media. I’ve been wanting to make another BINGO board on the same topic ever since, but with some new categories to encourage people to think about food and media together. Both food and entertainment shape cultures and define cultures and adding diversity and richness to our lives.

Since I’m getting a late start on tonight’s blog post, instead of a BINGO board I’m making a list where you can choose your own adventure. Choose as many as you like and give yourself a point for each one achieved. Do at least five of the categories to give yourself a BINGO, ten checked off the list and you a gold star, all of them and you earn the tall-chef hat.

*When it says read or book, don’t feel like you have to read a book. For some, watching a video might be a more enjoyable way to participate, or if a book is too long, find an article or podcast related to the topic. Not everyone takes in media the same way and that is great – diversity in learning and entertainment is important to recognize and honor.

Street Food – Find a book about street foods by a POC author or about a POC chef. Chef Roi Choy and the Street Food Remix is a good one if you need a suggestion.

Reviving Family Recipes—Find a book or podcast that talks about reviving family recipes. Mamacita: Recipes Celebrating Life as a Mexican Immigrant in America is a lovely cookbook about this very topic. I discovered it by listening to a podcast with the author.

Cookbook from somewhere you haven’t visited or lived

Cookbook from somewhere you have visited, your hometown counts too – Learn about the foods of where you are whether POC traditions local to your town or city, or the foods of the Indigenous lands you’re on

Media about Black farmers – Find a book or video about the Black farming experience. If you want a good drama to watch, Queen Sugar is so good. It is based on a book by the same title.

Read about food and the Civil Rights Movement – If you need some suggestions on places to get started read about the sit-ins at restaurants and diners, look up Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Dick Gregory’s Natural Diet cookbook – who I just read about.

Read a cookbook by an Asian author – One of my new faves is The Wok of Life. It started as a blog by the same name and the family of bloggers recently released a gorgeous new cookbook. For vegetarians and vegans, The Korean Vegan is a great cookbook.

Food Justice Movement – Learn about food sovereignty, food deserts, farming rights, factory farming, food waste, government food programs, etc. Learn about these from POC perspectives.

Food Sovereignty from an Indigenous Perspective – Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kilmer is such an important book for understanding our connection to the land and being in a just relationship with the land. On the fiction side, Seed Keeper is a new-ish novel that touches on food sovereignty.

Graphic Novel Centered on sharing food/meals, POC authors – Invisible starts in a school cafeteria (middle grades), or for the older crowd Umma’s Table or J&K (both of which I haven’t read, but the reviews look interesting).

Food Memoir by a POC author –A few to get you started: Crying in H Mart, Taste Like War, or Fatty Fatty Boom Boom a memoir of food, fat, and family.

Learn about festive dishes from Black traditions – Black Foods serves this category very well.

Women of color and reshaping the food scene —  Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America and Arabiyya: Recipes from the Life of an Arab in Diaspora are both now on my to-read list thanks to some research for this category.

How people use food to celebrate or mournLunar New Year’s (the list in the link are children’s books), Persian New Year’s, Juneteenth, etc.

Island Food – Learn about food from an island, bonus points for non-European islands

Snack or Meal time – Your choice!

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I am writing from the lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Snohomish, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawai’i; a small act to repair and work to be in more justice-based relations.