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The table is where we find our way. Together.
The communal family table bears witness to our lives. The way we approach each meal speaks volumes about who we are and what we are going through in that very moment. It’s where the spirits of those who left too soon can be conjured back to mind through taste and smell. Still, we underestimate its pull and often miss the soulful nourishment and magic that happens at sobremesa—the time spent talking after a meal—due to our increasingly busy lives.
In her coming-of-age adventure, Caminos Oría travels to her family’s homeland of Argentina in search of belonging—to family, to country, to a love, and ultimately, to oneself. Steeped in the lure of Latin culture, she pieces together her mom and abuela’s pasts, along with the nourishing dishes—delectably and spiritually—that formed their kitchen arsenal. But Caminos Oría’s travels from las pampas to the prairie aren’t easy or conventional. She grapples with mystical encounters with the spirit world that lead her to discover a part of herself that, like sobremesa, had been lost in translation.
Just as she’s ready to give up on love all together, Caminos Oría’s own heart surprises her by surrendering to a forbidden, transcontinental tryst with the Argentine man of her dreams. To stay together, she must make a difficult choice: return to the safe life she knows in the States or follow her heart and set a new table, one where she can be her full self, unapologetically, in full-fledged Spanglish.
Deliciously soulful and chock full of romance, this otherworldly, multigenerational story of a daughter’s love and familial culinary legacy serves up, in 13 courses, a gastronomic meditation on the tables we set for ourselves throughout our lives—knowingly or not. It’s a story that lures us to slow down, to savor meals mindfully and see where the communion of food takes us, beyond the plate. It’s there we find our one true voice, look within, and face the questions we’ve been running from: Is this the table I envisioned for myself before the world told me who I am supposed to be? If not, reset it. Do I belong? Do the people around me lift me up? If not, change tables. Where am I seated? At the head? In the middle? There is no right or wrong answer, but does my chosen seat position me for the role I’m meant to fulfill in this lifetime? If not, change places.
Sobremesa invites us to savor the healing embrace of time-honored food and the wisdom it espouses. It’s a reminder that that home really is anywhere the heart is. And for all looking to find their place, it’s an invitation to claim your seat at sobremesa’s endless table, where everyone is welcome.
Sobremesa Book Club Guide includes questions and discussion prompts for book clubs.