Maligayang araw ng kalayaan, mga kababayan!
For today, I’m bringing to you a blog tour that I am super excited to be a part of! This is of course the Hungry Hearts #OwnVoices Food Crawl blog tour. Mucho thanks to Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads and CW @ The Quiet Pond for hosting this and for letting me join up!
Hungry Hearts is an anthology exploring how food is an important part of life and love for many different diverse cultures. It features a story from Rin Chupeco, which is what I’ll be reviewing in this post! For reviews on the rest of the short stories in this anthology, keep on scrolling to check out the Food Crawl blog tour schedule.
Title: Sugar and Spite
Author: Rin Chupeco
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Featuring witches whose magic is in their food, this offering by my queen Rin Chupeco is all about revenge, justice, and what it means to inherit something from your ancestors.
Sugar and Spite is about a family of mangkukulam, what we call witches here in the Philippines. Kulam, the magic practiced by these witches, is known to place emphasis on natural ingredients like soil, herbs, fire, and oils, brought to life by the innate power of the practitioner. Kulam still has some negative connotations—most people here still think of it purely as revenge magic—and although this story does deal with the main character using her magic for that purpose, it also talks about personal responsibility, and about the power of a legacy handed down to you from those who came before, as well as making that legacy your own.
Told from a second-person point of view, Sugar and Spite opens by describing the main character Ami’s grandmothers’ carinderia, or small roadside eatery, serving Filipino dishes. The grandmothers—as well as Ami herself—are mangkukulam, as I’ve said, although the grandmothers are highly picky when it comes to whom they let use their magic. The main character wants to use that magic as well to get even with their bullies, but one of the hard and fast rules of the grandmothers’ kulam is to never, ever make it personal.
This changes when (SPOILER ALERT) Ami, the main character, discovers her grandmother used her magic to get rid of a Japanese man she encountered, who was part of a platoon of soldiers who pillaged and burned her village down during World War II. Ami demands to know from her grandmother how is that not making it personal. Thus follows an important lesson about the difference between justice and revenge.
Sugar and Spite touches on so many themes that I find super important. Not only does it talk about a magic system, myth, and legend that is quite close to my heart; but it also discusses how diaspora folks can take aspects of the culture of their ancestors and made it their own. It also shows very clearly the ties that bond families to each other and to their homeland, and the personal responsibility that comes with having a position (or even actual magical) power.
About Hungry Hearts:
From some of your favorite bestselling and critically acclaimed authors—including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco—comes a collection of interconnected short stories that explore the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives of thirteen teens.
A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the confections she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that could cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.
Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one and the same.
Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.
Sound like something you’d like to read?
Join the giveaway by clicking here! Or purchase at the links below:
About Rin Chupeco:
Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching.
Because ya tita is hella extra, I filmed myself making tsokolate with tablea! Check it out below:
Want to read more about this book? Check out the rest of the Food Crawl tour stops!
June 10th – Introduction
Vicky (Welcome + Interview)
June 11th – Karuna Riazi
June 13th – Jay Coles
Nikki (Review + Creative Post)
June 15th – Sara Farizan
June 17th – Adi Alsaid
Moon (Review + Creative Post)
June 19th – S. K. Ali
Mish (Review + Creative Post)
June 20th – Phoebe North
Kayla (Review + Aesthetic/Mood board)
June 23rd – Anna-Marie McLemore
Nox (Review + Creative Post)
June 24th – Closing
CW (Review + Food Crawl)