Food is a Love Language: An Analysis of Connection and Desire in Stir-Fry




Queer Studies, Irish Literature, Food, Lesbian Erasure


This paper aims at analysing the Irish contemporary novel Stir-fry (1994), written by Emma Donoghue. The story is set in rural Ireland in the early 1990s, and this study focusses on how food, and the room of the kitchen, is used throughout the novel as a way to represent the emotional connections between the characters as well as the sexual awakening of the main character, Maria. The parallels between Maria’s relationship with food and the kitchen back at her original home in opposition to  her new home in Dublin help create an understanding of how the character changes perspective on society and her own sexuality, exploring her new Self away from suffocating expectations and prejudices imposed by a highly religious, misogynistic and homophobic society.

Author Biography

Esther Borges, Universidade de São Paulo

Esther Borges graduated in Portuguese and English language, literature and linguistics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) in 2019. She received her Master’s in English literature and linguistics at the University of São Paulo (USP) in 2021, with a dissertation on Lesbian identity construction & erasure in the novel ‘Stir-Fry’ by Emma Donoghue. She is currently a PhD student in the same program and her thesis focuses on Queer Diaspora in the novels by Adiba Jaigirdar.


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O’TOOLE, Tina. “Cé Leis Tú? Queering Irish Migrant Literature.” Irish University Review, vol. 43, no. 1, 2013, pp. 131–45. Crossref, doi:10.3366/iur.2013.0060.

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How to Cite

Borges, E. (2022). Food is a Love Language: An Analysis of Connection and Desire in Stir-Fry. ABEI Journal, 24(2), 85-99.