How does Vianne describe the connection between food and family, friends, or community?

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although about half of the book is told in the 1st person from Vianne's perspective - she is not a particularly introspective character.  In fact, one of the beauties of her personality is that she tends to tell the story as it is happening, she does not make any apologies for her thoughts or actions, but generally speaking, she remains unbiased towards others and circumstances.  In this way, to answer your question, Vianne never makes a direct connection between family, friends and community.

In order to answer what is Vianne's connection between these things, we must only look at her actions.  Her version of events is straightforward and sounds as honest and unimbelished as if she were a mere observer, rather than a participant.

Vianne uses her gift of cooking (not just the huge feast for Armande's birthday, but every delicacy in her Chocolaterie) to do two things.  One, to provide the kind of comfort necessary for people to want to come to the shop and talk.  She does most (if not all) of her relationship building over something sweet to eat or drink.  She can "guess" people's "favorite" treat - and uses that charm to coax them out of themselves.  Characters in the Chocolaterie find themselves opening up and sharing things about their past, their secrets (hopes as well as fears), and their sorrows.  Vianne is always willing to listen.

Second, she uses food to bring people together.  Armande's party is only one example of this.  Simply put, once a character has opened up (emotionally) to Vianne, she finds someone else in the town and makes a connection.  She does not selfishly get close to everyone and keep them all to herself.  Instead, she allows them to trust her - then she helps them to make a similar connection with someone else.  In this way she connects Armande to her grandson, Luc.  She connects Luc with his mother.  She helps Josephine leave her husband - and in so doing, Josephine is able to make friendships with several people whom she seemed afraid of before - including Roux.

Vianne's gifts are cooking and connecting.  Through these she uses simple pleasures to bring people together.

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