This book about food romance is written by Ito Ogawa, a Japanese writer whose book “Shokudō Katatsumuri” was translated in English as The Restaurant of Love Regained. This book explains life of a girl who went through a heartbreak and loss of each belonging on the very first page of the book and rest of the story is about her regaining strength and excelling in life with motivation and skills she has. It is like a romance cook-book and describes perfectly how and why each ingredient is important in a dish. Ito used very simple words to make a whole story and yet the element of delicacy is still there. This book is a story of a restaurant run by a girl that provides sheer love and magic in its food. Author is of the view that you cannot change your past but what is going to happen in future is still somehow in your hands. With the use of a bit fiction this story becomes amazingly delicious for readers 😉
Story revolves around a girl Rinko who not only lost her Indian boyfriend but he took everything from their house as well and the whole house was cleanly swept when Rinko returns home one day from work. There is only one thing left in one of the cabinets that is her grandmother’s jar which she used to adore and took care of it for so long. Devastated and shocked, she felt that she has lost her voice forever and will be able to talk to anyone ever. She did not have anywhere to go as well so she took a ticket to her hometown and sat on a bus. When she returned to the village, she realized there wasn’t much that has changed over ten years and she felt nostalgic too entering into homeland. Her relations with her mother were already very disturbing and when she couldn’t speak out what made her return home, her mother was more frustrated with her. Rinko decided she will use all her kitchen skills from her past jobs to open a restaurant in the back yard of her mother’s house. Her mother let her do this and in return asked her to take care of her pet pig. She gave it a thorough thought about what her restaurant will be like, how is she going to make food, how she will collect ingredients and how she is going to get customers know about her. During this time she met a childhood friend Kuma who, upon knowing what she is up to, decided to help her throughout.
Rinko decided to name her restaurant as “The Snail” and she would serve only one person or a couple or a family per day. She will ask the customer beforehand about what type of food they would like to eat and how much they can afford to pay and will decide the menu accordingly and get fresh ingredients for every customer. This decision added magic in her dishes and she was known to have magical powers in her food after 3-4 customers. For example whenever someone wanted to implant the seed of love in someone’s heart, they would take him/her to Rinko’s restaurant and it worked too. Then she came to know about her birth from her mother and connected all the dots about why she and her mother never had perfect relationship ever. But the interesting thing in this novel is Rinko isn’t speaking a word to anyone and yet she is spreading love everywhere. Later her mother also established fair relation with her too. There is a huge part about slaughtering a pig and using each part of it in a dish including blood so that can make you nauseous like me so I just skipped that part. The ending becomes heart touching with Rinko’s mother letter in which she poured all her emotions for her and asked her to start speaking again too.
This book gives us a huge lesson that everyone can be special in their own ways and one doesn’t have to be typical or following the trend. Without Rink’s verbal communication, her feeling are expressed with so much detail and how she spread positive vibes in her village. Ito also put emphasis on the ingredients of dishes whether plants or animals and that almost makes you smell the food while reading. Story tells us that you can get back to life after a huge fall in such glorious ways. Although this books is not something very extraordinary read but it is interesting and a comfort read so I would really recommend this one.
My favorite quote from this book is “I wish I could recall more about that special day. But I’m afraid that if I did, I might crumble. Things like this, the most precious things in the world, I keep them all safely locked away in my chest where nobody can ever touch them. Where the sun can never fade them. Where the wind and rain can never harm them” ❤
Let me know yours 🙂