Austin Chronicle: “Food brings everyone together” isn’t a trailblazing theme in literature or television. Most cookie-cutter travel shows center on the prevailing sense that wherever you are in the world, food is a pillar of familiarity and togetherness. But You and I Eat the Same takes the idea of cultural unity, puts it in its crosshairs, and delivers a laser-accurate shot of urgency. While the book doesn’t shove the political implications of an all-embracing mindset down your throat, it doesn’t shy away from it either.
Author and editor Chris Ying stitches together a memorable anthology of stories and essays with the goal of delivering a simple message: Humanity is on top of its game when it’s inclusive, and exhibit A is our culinary history. Even the cover of the book resembles some sort of late-Seventies food-centric orgy where every culture is accurately represented, drawn in the style of a community center mural. It’s a hopeful worldview for dark times, and a reminder that chefs are at the front lines for this sort of optimism.
René Redzepi, owner/chef at Noma and founder of the MAD symposium (think the food world’s G20 summit), drives this anthology in the foreword by being open about its thesis: Cooking is our greatest human connection, and resisting anything other than total inclusiveness is not only fighting history, it’s fighting human nature. Read more.