Meal

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

This a graphic novel following Yarrow, a young chef that dreams of making her mark on the insect-based cuisine. The story explores the intersection of culture and food, from chef Chanda Flores’s Cambodian-Mexican family to Yarrow’s Japanese grandparents. This world is full of multicultural food and characters, and I very much enjoyed it. The sapphic couple was adorable and that build-up was so satisfying. Highly recommended.
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*I received this book as an eARC from Iron Circus Comics via NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

This graphic novel is both a story and an informative narrative. It almost serves as a recipe for entomophagy cooking (or bug eating). This book provides great arguments for the use of insects in cooking as a protein. The story follows a restaurant with a certain special protein as its main attraction. 

I really liked the concept of this book, but the story just did not draw me in quick enough. It was slow and not exciting enough, for me. I give this book a 3/5. If you're interested in eating insects, you should definitely check this book out for some info and background. It is the future.
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Really cute concept and I love how the art work melds with the story line. 
I really appreciated getting a look at this arc even though it was already published in 2018. 
I would love to purchase a finished copy and add it to my collection. I look forward to reading more work by Blue Delliquanti and Soleil Ho!
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From this graphic novel I have learned that I should not request graphic novel ARCs from NetGalley. I have to read them on my laptop, which is not great for such a visual medium. This particular ARC had watermarks over the pages which made them even harder to read. I did receive this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. You should take my review with a grain of salt, because there were things working against my experience which you would not have if you bought the graphic novel in hard copy.

Yarrow is a young chef determined to make her mark on the cutting edge of cookery with her insect-based creations. Though her enthusiasm is infectious, it rubs some of her fellow cooks the wrong way, especially Chanda Flores, Yarrow's personal hero and executive chef of an exciting new restaurant. Her people have been eating bugs for centuries, and she's deeply suspicious of this newbie's attempt to turn her traditions into the next foodie trend. While Chanda and her scrappy team of talented devotees struggle to open on time, Yarrow must win over Chanda -- and Milani, the neighbor she's been crushing on for weeks -- or lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve her dreams.

Setting aside my frustrations with the experience of reading a graphic novel on a mid-range laptop, Meal has a sweet story and addresses some important issues. Meal tackles large issues like the potential for insects to be a more sustainable source of protein, the cultural history of entomophagy (eating insects), cultural appropriation, self confidence and communication.

So much of the reading experience of graphic novels is the art, and I had a hard time seeing the art through the poor resolution and the watermarks across every page. The image I posted above is not from the ARC I received, but from a Google image search. I would have enjoyed the book more if every page I had seen had been as crisp.

I like the concept and at points I was able to become engaged in the story even with the visual frustration. So, if you are interested in reading about a young chef and her dream to bring delicious insect dishes to the community, you should go get this book. There are recipes at the back, too.
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*Received via NetGalley for review*

Entomophagy (eating insects) is a passion of mine, and I am incredibly excited that this graphic novel focused on it has come out.

Yarrow is also passionate about entomophagy - so much so that she's moved cross-country for the chance to work at the first  prominent entomophagy restaurant. Chanda, the head chef, for unclear reasons, refuses her application. Yarrow then ropes in Milani, the cute girl who helped her move, to create a dish that will change Chanda's mind.

The characters are realistically drawn and Yarrow and Milani are very cute together. The information on entomophagy is well-researched and presented in an accessible way. 

The timeline is a bit confusing at the beginning (it seems like Yarrow and Milani had just met when Yarrow offers to cook her dinner, but then they act like they've know each other for weeks?) and some of the information is a little info-dumpy (meaning it's a lot at once and stifled; no one really delivers whole paragraphs on the history of insects as food or what they've learned working at a restaurant in response to simple questions), but if that was fixed this would be 5 stars for sure.
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The Meal is decent comics about a young culinary enthusiast who wants to be a chef in one special cuisine - insects. It's a nice story with classic tropes with generic monochromatic art, so there is nothing special about it. I actually like the story, the topic is interesting, but it is nothing for me. The most interesting characters here are the side ones (which are way interesting than the main ones). But there is a bigger issue for me on that. There is the thing I hate for example on US Masterchef first episodes - lots of dull characters desperately trying to be different and special. Playing on LGBT+ notes, sad story notes, hard-working notes or taking their "heritage" as a hostage. And this is the issue of both comics and it's characters. You can't make the good character just by splashing on it some minority diversity (lesbian, fat lesbian, Japanese heritage but not looking Asian at all...). I would love to have a story based on some good and interesting storytelling, great plastic characters and diving it some diversity splash when it already feels real, not the other way around. And that's sad because I really looked forward to some good comics about cooking. And I feel the author has lots to say about insect food, which could be interesting but the result is just an uneven mix of stories about two loner lesbians finding love in each other, starting up a restaurant, making food from insect and pissing contest who has the best background story. Except for mysterious Harris. Seriously, who is that guy? 

Thanks, #netgalley for providing a review copy.
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"Meal" is a graphic novel about entomophagy - insect cuisine. The book is in two parts written by two authors. Blue Delliquanti, writes the first part as a graphic novel and the second part by Soleil Ho as an essay describing "chicatanas" with an addition of some recipes on preparing crunchy mealworms, chapulines (grasshoppers), smokey tarantula and bee larvae. The writing was clear and presented the topic well in a very succinct and interesting way. The story revolved around Yarrow an LGBTQ character which adds as a small subplot to the main story. Overall, I believe the writers achieved their goal of sharing this insect cuisine knowledge to many who are not very familiar to this in a very interesting way that readers will find fascinating and eye-opening. My interest was certainly grasped and I have learned a lot about this topic. The authors did a fantastic job presenting this material in a creative way.

Thank you to Netgalley, authors and publisher for an ebook copy of this graphic novel.
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I loved the diversity in this novel, with characters of different races and ethnicities and the LGBTQ+ representation. This story explores eating insects, which sounds pretty weird and I’m not sure it’s something I’ll ever personally be on board with, but it was interesting to learn about. I thought it was pretty cool that there were some actual recipes included at the end. Overall it was interesting and had a cute love story. The art style wasn’t my favorite but it was okay.
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Entomaphagy is a field that fascinates me. I'd love to visit a restaurant like the one in this book, so I was pretty into this plot. It's more than just "eat bugs, they're the future". Or even "how novel". It's about truly respecting them as food, the traditions that presented the ideas, the appropriate flavor palates.. These are ideas we don't really explore with any foods, much less with insects. Meal encourages us to really consider our relationships with food and traditions.
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I requested this ARC because the premise sounds super interesting and original (and because I love food, but aren't we all?). I love the detailed explanation about Yarrow's backstory along with the recipes itself. The relationship between her and Milani was also really cute. Unfortunately, the detailed explanation quickly turns into a massive info dumps and overly-technical and as someone who's not familiar with this particular subject, I just couldn't keep up. I had to push myself to finish it and I hate it when reading becomes a requirement instead of a fun process. 

But overall, I appreciate the plot originality and diverse representation in this book. I also didn't expect the quick essay and multiple recipes at the end, so that was a lovely surprise!

Thank you Iron Circus Comics and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I really liked this one. It was quite different from the usual comics I read. My full review appears on Weekend Notes.
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Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this comic!

Rating: 3 stars
Rep: POC, LGBTQ+ and plus size rep. 

The premise of this comic sounded too intriguing for me to pass up, it's all about a chef who uses insects in their cooking and the absolute dedication and ambition she has to achieve her goals. Overall, it was a fun read, but it wasn't really for me, I was just a little bored and confused throughout. 

The artwork was really lovely, but I definitely missed the use of colour. I really loved the characters and the relationships between them. I always love learning about different cultures and this comic definitely delivered on that front. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend giving this comic a go if you like diversity, unique storylines and most importantly, food!
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This was a really cute graphic novel on an extremely interesting subject. Inclusive of a wide range of people (and body types!) I think Meal can be enjoyed by a wide range of folks looking for light hearted food writing. Plus, insects are the food of the future (and the past), what a great way to be introduced to the subject though this charming story.
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Meal is a unique and entertaining graphic novel.  Maybe sometime soon I can enjoy my own hard copy.  Enjoyed it!
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I want to write a nice, eloquent review of this lovely graphic novel but all I can seem to formulate is "IT'S SO PRETTY!! THE ARTWORK!!"
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This is a cute, unexpected graphic novel about a young woman named Yarrow, who's just moved to Minnesota to pursue her dream of being a chef with insects. She meets and hits it off with a lovely, butch painter named Milani, and they realistically develop their relationship with starts, stops, awkwardness, and so-bad-they're-good movies. But at heart is Yarrow's desire to impress the head chef of La Casa Chicatanas with her insect cuisine as the restaurant prepares for an upcoming pop-up, then a full launch. 

It's clear that the author is passionate about the possibilities and significance of insect cuisine. As Soleil Ho, a food writer whose essay closes the book, says, "Reducing insect cuisine to a spectacle, to a reaction to climate change or industrialized food production, erases the fact that it’s been a meaningful part of many cultures throughout the world." As such, this graphic novel's cast of characters, most of whom are people of color, pays homage to the immigrant cuisines that Anglos mocked and refused to eat, that's now becoming fashionable / eco-conscious / animal-friendly. At times, the book had a hard time streamlining the impetus behind the book (insect cuisine as a way to honor cultures and save the planet) with realistic dialogue. Other than that, it's a charming book with a distinct point of view. 


[Thanks to NetGalley for offering a copy of this book in exchange for a review.]
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This was a low key, sweet graphic novel that was unlike anything else I’ve read before. This one was about the MC’s passion for cooking with insects, sorting out your dreams, and making new friends/relationships. 

I loved the representation (it’s got multiple types of brown and the main love story is queer :), and that this was just unique from anything else I’ve stumbled across. I had actually just ordered some cricket-based chips last week, and then this book was shared with me and they really take eating bugs to a whole other level... and I’m curious about it in a new way now! 

It’s definitely a mellow book, a bit slow, but it was just nice. Extra props for the recipes in the back, books about food should always have recipes I believe. 

A different, interesting read. 3.5 stars from me! 
Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Well, that was ... weird. Not sure what to think bout this!! Lol. Not what I was expecting at all!! A little bit of LGBT, a little bit of insect cuisine and Bam! You have Meal! Nothing will make me eat insects so y'all insect connoisseurs can have 'em. When and if there comes a time when meat is scarce, I'll deal with it then. lol. And I like color in my graphic novels/comics.
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I love food and I love graphic novels (not necessarily in that order), so this should have been perfect for me, right? There were definitely parts I enjoyed: the characters are great, and there's a lot of diversity. It's lovely to see so many people of different skin colours and sizes represented. But it was also just... too technical for me to fully enjoy it. It was fun to read about something I didn't previously know a lot about (cooking and eating insects), but I didn't really need extensive recipes of the meals Yarrow cooks, for instance. It was fun to see them included in the back, but the flow of the story suffered from describing the technical details. And while the art work is lovely, I did miss the use of colour, or at least more different grey tones. However, I do love the message of how food is always rooted in culture and history, and the budding friendship between Yarrow and Milani is just wonderful.

Rep: multiple characters of colour, f/f romance.
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** thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me the digital ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review **

actual rating: 3.8/5

this is the first time i've ever read about entomology in a fiction book. but it still doesn't make me wanting to eat them insects all of sudden (sorry!)

however, after i read this book, i learned it's important to learn about the culture no matter how bizarre it might sound like before we simply jump into insulting them. 

also, my favourite part of this book is the good representations of queer people and how diverse every character is!! love me some gay characters in a really well-written asian rep story!!!
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