Week 27: The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

Every summer, like many of you I am sure, I go to see movies at the theater quite often. ‘Tis the season you might say. I always make a point to arrive to the theater in time to see indisputably  the best part of the movie: the trailers (am I right?). There is a certain point in some trailers, when the line “BASED ON THE BESTSELLING NOVEL BY…” that my ears perk up, and a stream of concession beverage trickles out my mouth onto my neighbor as I sit open-mouthed in anticipation. If you couldn’t tell from the majority of the books that I choose to review, I am always thrilled when a book gets made in to a movie (watch this trailer if you have not!). I quickly engage into 007-mode, with the primary objective of finding and executing the said book before the movie’s release date. Now, I’m not sure whether it was because I recently saw the food-porn summer hit “Chef”, or if I’m excited to see a “humble-beginnings kid that makes it big” movie that doesn’t revolve around a god damn sport, OR if I’ve been binge-watching too many old episodes of Top Chef all summer- but I was totally stoked to discover this book is all about food.

 

I read a review recently that dubbed The Hundred-Foot Journey a mixture between Ratatouille and Slumdog Millionaire. This person is a genius, and I salute you. The Hundred-Foot Journey is the story of Hassan Hajia young Indian street cook from Mumbai, where the destruction of his family’s ambitious restaurant and the death of his mother cause the large Indian family to move to Europe to start a new life. One day while traveling through the French countryside, their car breaks down outside a beautiful village called Lumiere, and Hassan’s father decides that this is where they will build their boisterous new Indian restaurant. Unfortunately, this is going to be a problem for the award-winning and highly civilized French cuisine restaurant directly across the street.

And so fate has it that Slumdog meets Ratatouille, aka Madam Mallory– the bitter owner of the French restaurant, Le Saule Pleureur. A war ensues between the two competing restaurants, with frat-level pranks and various other low-blows, until one accident results in Hassan getting hurt and taken to the hospital. Madam Mallory feels deeply responsible for her involvement in Hassan’s injury, and she decides to take him on as a personal apprentice at her restaurant- an enormous gesture that will shape the rest of Hassan’s life.

“A lot of emotion went into that hundred-foot journey, cardboard suitcase in hand, from one side of Lumière’s boulevard to the other.”

The second half of the novel follows Hassan’s journey from a small-time chef with glimmer of talent, to becoming the most renowned chef in Paris. Throughout the story, I was inspired by Hassan’s ability to innovate while always sticking to his family’s Indian roots. On top of that, the author’s descriptions of the numerous smells and flavors are so potent you can almost taste them. This book was delectable in so many ways, and I can’t wait to see it this weekend with my own eyes.

A powerful thing, destiny. You can’t run from it. Not in the end.”

Thank you for reading what I have to say about books! This week was an absolute blast to review- I even took my brother and dad out for Indian food for my first time to get the whole experience. Looking forward to what comes next week when I read and review Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. Au revoir!

 

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