The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais is as much a journey through food as it is through Hassan Haji’s life. It’s a beautifully written novel with such vivid descriptions of food and place that at times I felt I was right there in the story.
Hassan Haji is born into a very ambitious family of men and from a child has grown up with food as a central part of his life. His grandfather started a restaurant in India when Hassan was a boy and that’s where he gets his first taste at cooking. However, too soon tragedy strikes and Hassan loses his mother prompting the family to leave India stopping first in England and then moving on to France and a village called Lumiere.
In Lumiere, Hassan’s father decides to build a restaurant regardless of the fact that there is one across the street run by Madame Mallory who is not at all fond of a different culture invading her neighborhood. Despite Madame Mallory trying to sabotage Hassan’s family at every turn the restaurant finally opens and on the first night is fully booked. Included in the clientele is none other than Madame Mallory who has come to see what this new restaurant is all about. However she ends up being completely shocked after tasted Hassan’s food and realizing that he is one of those individuals with a natural talent for cooking and creating beautiful dishes.
Well this makes Madame Mallory even more determined to get rid of the Haji’s and at one point an argument ensues and Hassan ends up being seriously burned. This prompts Madame Mallory to take a much closer look at herself and she asks the Haji’s to stay in the neighborhood and not move back to England. Hassan’s father is having none of it; he’s moving his family out of there. Then Madame Mallory throws another hook into things asking for Hassan to come live and train under her to become French chef. Needless to say this throws Hassan’s father into a tizzy but eventually he agrees.
Hassan learns his craft well and finally years later ends up with his own restaurant and becomes extremely successful. This novel really gives us a look into different cultures and how they do things and how these differences relate to food as well. It also shows us how prejudice can do more harm than good and once people open their hearts and minds to these differences in people they find a whole new world open to them.
I enjoyed this book. I liked many of the characters but found Hassan’s father to be quite funny. He’s described as a big man and his temper gets the best of him most of the time and some of the things he came out with gave me a giggle. However he was a very determined man out to do the best for his family and that he did. Hassan is much the same, not in an outwardly explosive personality, but more in his determination to succeed as well. He had a gift to share with the world in the beauty and taste of his food and that’s what he ultimately succeeded at doing.
If I had one complaint about the novel it would be that more of the novel would have been like the beginning. I felt the beginning started out with really giving us a feel for Hassan’s family and his life but once they moved to France most of the story was focused solely on the restaurant side of things and I really still would have liked to know more about the personal side of both Hassan and his family. This is a minor complaint though and most definitely doesn’t take away from the beauty of the novel at all. I absolutely loved the descriptions of the markets, kitchens, and most of all the food.
My thanks…to Inkwell Management for my review copy of The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
Courtesy of the publisher Simon & Schuster I have 3 copies of The Hundred-Food Journey by Richard C. Morais available to share with my readers. To enter:
- For 1 entry leave me a comment with an email address at which I can contact you if you win. Please don’t forget your email address as I’m deleting entries without it now.
- For 2 entries tell me what your favorite dish is.
This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) as the books will be shipped from the publisher. I will draw for the winners on Sunday, August 1/10. Good luck everyone!