To eat is to build upon our collective story. We use food to say, again and again, who we are.

Eating with My Mouth Open is food writing like you’ve never seen before: honest, brave, and exceptionally tasty. Lyrically written, Sam van Zweden offers a millennial response to classic food writers, revelling in body positivity on Instagram, remembering how Tupperware piled high with sweets can be a symptom of spiralling mental health, dissecting wellness culture and all its flaws, sharing the joys of living in a family of chefs and seeing a history of migration on her dinner plate.

Recalling the writing of Lindy West and Roxane Gay, as well as classic food writers M.F.K. Fisher and Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Eating with My Mouth Open considers embodiment and the meaning of true nourishment within the broken food system we live in. Not holding back from the struggles of mental illness and difficult conversations about weight and wellbeing, Sam Van Zweden advocates for a body politics that is empowering, productive and meaningful.

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What People Say

‘This is writing as sustenance. The book’s moments of deep insight and intimacy, all its quiet revolutions, are answerable – as is the case with the most enduring nonfiction – to two gods only: truth and nurture.’

– Maria Tumarkin, author of Axiomatic

‘Van Zweden’s writing is at once both nourishing and thorny, generous and eclectic, sumptuous and piquant. This book marks the arrival of a fresh voice in Australian nonfiction.’

– Rebecca Giggs, author of Fathoms: The world in the whale

‘This book is relatable, well-researched, and clear in its intentions; it will be one I recommend for years to come.’

– Shelley Timms, Underground Writers

‘Amazingly attuned to those tender points where food tangles with family, trauma, illness and mental wellbeing – Sam van Zweden describes everyday food moments with clarity and compassion in a way that made me fall in love with food all over again.’

– Ruby Tandoh, author of Eat Up!

‘An unsparingly honest self-examination of the hungers, the memories and searingly painful truths held deep within our bodies, and how we may permit ourselves to stop and listen to our bodies, and with this seemingly-simple act, connect the nourishment and care of our physical selves with that of our minds and of our loved ones. Wise and brave and deeply empathic.’

– Kate Richards, author of Madness: A memoir

‘van Zweden has written a tender and hopeful memoir that paves the way for reimagining our relationship with food and our bodies.’

– Bec Kavanagh, The Guardian

Eating With my Mouth Open is a beautiful book: heartfelt, intelligent and full of love.’

– Fiona Wright, author of The World Was Whole and Small Acts of Disappearance

‘In this excruciating time of bougie food-for-cultural-capital, of ‘body-positive’ rah-rah, of food-loving, body-shaming confusion, Sam van Zweden cuts through the bullshit, arguing that food is for love, and that if we love food, we must love the bodies that food nurtures. Van Zweden is a masterful caretaker of the bodies that have been left out.’

– Ellena Savage, author of Blueberries

‘the main attraction of this book is the way it is written: circling back on itself, registering moments and incidents that have occurred, but giving weight to memory and desire … At times, reading Eating With My Mouth Open reminded me of reading a good poem, with small images of great significance.’

– Penelope Cottier, The Canberra Times