Food is our common ground, bringing together families, communities and cultures. How we cook and eat can tell us a lot about ourselves. Food can evoke memories good and bad; can be symbolic of where we come from or where we want to be.

Celebrating this universal experience, Cooked Up, compiled by Elaine Chiew, draws together authors from all over the world, each bringing to the table a unique literary interpretation of the food theme.

A young man attempts to avoid military service by over-eating…a woman re-enacts her husband’s infidelities with fish bones…students at a cookery school war over woks…a food bank visitor gets more than she bargained for ….meals are prepared and shared from Cambodia to an Indian kitchen in the US, from Russia to war-torn Croatia.

These are mere glimpses into the rich variety of short stories (including flash fiction) contained in this book — a veritable treat for the senses and an uplifting cross-cultural reading experience.


Elaine Chiew

The Mysterious Anxiety of Them and Us: A Stoku
Ben Okri

Krys Lee

How Things End
Roy Kesey

Mrs Dutta Writes A Letter
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Potato Pancakes/One of the Ten Plagues
Will Fall on This House/Flesh and Bone

Pippa Goldschmidt

Oatmeal Sorbet
Stefani Nellen

The Noise, and After the Noise, the Calm
Charles Lambert

Mysteries and Offerings
Sue Guiney

Ghost-Eating in Buenos Aires
Diana Ferraro

The Salt Box/Tasting Pebbles/
Pippy Spits Across Fox Street

Vanessa Gebbie

Walking the Wok
Mukoma Wa Ngugi

Susannah Rickards

All Sorrows Are Less With Bread
Patrick Holland

How It Used To Be and How It Always Was
Nikesh Shukla

Food Bank
Rachel Fenton

Run of the Molars
Elaine Chiew

Biographical notes on the contributing writers

Publisher: New Internationalist.