Thanks to Putnam Books for the free/gifted copy of THE KAMOGAWA FOOD DETECTIVES.
THE KAMOGAWA FOOD DETECTIVES
Book #1 The Kamogawa Food Detectives Novel
By: Hisashi Kashiwai
Translated by: Jesse Kirkwood
Published: February 13, 2024
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Japanese Fiction/Translated into English
You might not want to read this food mystery on an empty stomach because your mouth will be watering you’ll want to rush out to your favorite Japanese restaurant to try some of the dishes created in this culinary mystery.
Is there a food or meal that conjures up a specific memory for you? Is there a dish your grandma made that you wish you could taste again? I grew up eating my great-grandma’s oatmeal raisin cookies at many family gatherings. Even though I had the recipe, the cookies never turned out quite right until just last year I tried making them again and this time, when I bit into the cookie, I was transported to my childhood. Tears welled in my eyes as I savored the moist cookie as if I were a child again at my great-grandma’s table.
Get to my age and you’ll realize that nostalgia can be just as vital an ingredient.
That is what this Japanese novel is about. Being transported to a meal that held a lot of meaning for the character in the story. Koishi and her father, Nagare, run the Kamogawa Food Detectives Agency in Kyoto, Japan. After being featured in Gourmet Monthly, people are coming to them to help them recreate a much-loved meal that they are no longer able to find, create, or have made by a loved one. Kioshi takes the information about the meal or dish and presents it to her father who researches, travels, and then creates the meal over the next two weeks.
When the customer returns, Kioshi presents them with the meal they hope is the one they have been missing. Oftentimes, when the story is told about this meal and why it is special, Nagare can also learn about other parts of the customer’s life and offer bits of advice.
Sometimes a book in translation is a bit disjointed to read because the translation doesn’t fit right with the story. Even though there was a lot of repetition in this story and attention to detail I felt like the translation was smooth and readable. I enjoy books in translation because they usually offer a unique insight into the traditions, the food, the culture, and the people of the country where the book is set. This story definitely immerses you in the culture of Japan, especially the food culture, the landscape, and the communities they live in. The idea of someone taking you back in time to recreate a lost family recipe or favorite dish at a now-closed restaurant is a book full of the best kind of comfort.
This is the first book in an expected series.