Author: Guillaume Long / Lion Forge Comics
I love cooking media. I love cooking competitions TV shows. I love the weirdly niche anime that discusses food. I love comics that talk about unconventional ingredients. So when offered the chance to review Guillaume Long’s To Drink and To Eat: Tastes and Tales from a French Kitchen, I knew I couldn’t pass it up and wow, am I thankful that I picked up the book.
One of the first images you’ll see in To Drink and To Eat is immediately after a humorous anecdote and table of contents. You get this neat little manual which instantly sets the tone for the rest of the book.
Long depicts a series of symbols that serve as a cipher of each vignette in his memoir, from recipes of varying levels, to short stories, to conversations he’s had with friends. The writing is clear, concise, with a sense of whimsy and joy and whether it’s referring to aforementioned sort stories as “egotrips” or the difficult to classify sections as “leftovers,” Long has a joyfulness and inviting approach to various culinary arts.
The comic itself is structured around the four different seasons, predictably starting with Spring and ending with Winter. As the seasons change, the ingredients and cuisine shift to match the temperature and it allows Long to cover a wide range of topics in an efficient matter. There is a distinct personality to the book, with Long’s art style excelling at capture the different moods of the kitchen and his handwriting imparting great character onto the narration and dialog. While I can’t speak to the accuracy of all of his tips and tricks, I can say with certainty that Long is funny and that I’m at least willing to try some of his techniques going forward.
This vignette structure of the comic allows Long to constantly change up his style. Each page reengages the readers because there is a shift panel structure, or color, or different animated ingredient talking about its gastric intrigue. But by that same virtue, it’s all very clearly Long’s unique visual style guiding the reading through a multiple course meal about something he very clearly feels passionate about.
That is perhaps the particular charm of this book: Long’s passion. Throughout the read, Long lovingly talks about his experiences as a chef, as someone exploring culture food, as some who loves food and wants to share it with the world. The enthusiasm which exudes over different ways to cook fish carries over to the reverence he has about how his friends helped him grow as a culinarian. Long does not talk down to the reader, he graciously opens the door for any aspiring cook to indulge in the experimentation and the work. He provides tools and scaffolding, offering his own experience on a platter for the reader to consume with joy.
To Eat and To Drink is the exact type of offbeat product that offers to change your usual pull and your daily routine. It’s an unconventional memoir crossed with a cookbook that I heartily recommend for anyone who wishes to expand their culinary horizons. It is evident that Long had a lot of love in his heart when he made this comic, and I’m confident that you’ll feel it too.
9.1 “Recettes” out of 10
Happy #NewYearsEve and thanks for joining us for a month of #ToDrinkAndToEat! We hope you’ve learned a trick or two and maybe even met a new friend through cooking. If you aren’t ready to say goodbye to @0c0ABAM's tastes and tales, find To Drink And To Eat Vol. 1 in stores 1/16! pic.twitter.com/05byXa2VbU
— Lion Forge (@lionforge) December 31, 2018
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