Journalism professor Jan Wong’s book Apron Strings: Navigating Food and Family in France, Italy, and China has been longlisted for the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize.
Journalism professor Jan Wong’s book Apron Strings: Navigating Food and Family in France, Italy, and China has been longlisted for the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize.

“I’m thrilled to be nominated for this prestigious prize. I feel like my writing life has come full circle because Charles Taylor was one of my predecessors in the Globe and Mail’s Beijing bureau. I had the privilege of inviting him to my home in Toronto when I finished my posting in China,” Wong said.

“During my sabbatical I wanted to write a book about mothers and sons, the globalization of food cultures in France, Italy and China, and family relationships around the table.”

Jan Wong knows food is better when it’s shared, so when she set out to research home cooking in several countries known for their distinctive cuisine, she asked her 22-year-old son, Sam, to join her. A memoir about family, an exploration of the globalization of food cultures, and a meditation on the complicated relationships between mothers and sons, Apron Strings is complex, unpredictable, and unexpectedly hilarious.

“Jan Wong proves in this book that the old adage ‘you are what you eat’ needs expanding,” the RBC Taylor Prize jury wrote. “We are what we eat, and who we make it with, and who we eat it with, and what ingredients we use, and what recipes we follow, and where in the world our table is located. In this book Jan Wong focuses her laser beam scrutiny on domestic life and comestibles in three different countries, and delivers shrewd home truths on how we sustain and nourish ourselves.”

Established in 1998, the RBC Taylor Prize commemorates Charles Taylor’s pursuit of excellence in the field of literary non-fiction. The jurors read a record breaking 153 non-fiction books submitted by 110 Canadian and international publishers. Other longlisted titles include Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga and Life on the Ground Floor by James Maskalyk.

The RBC Taylor Prize shortlist will be announced in January and the winner revealed at a gala luncheon on Monday, February 26, 2018.

Jan Wong is the author of five non-fiction bestsellers, including Out of the Blue and Red China Blues, which was named one of Time magazine’s top ten non-fiction books of 1996. She has won numerous journalism awards and is now a professor of journalism at St. Thomas University.