Friday, May 08, 2015

#FridayReads: Sofrito by Phillippe Diederich

Sofrito by Phillippe Diederich:

A Cuban-American travels to Havana searching for a secret recipe where he finds love and the truth about his father.


"In this entertaining debut novel, Frank Delgado tries to save his failing restaurant by returning to Cuba, his dead father's homeland, to get ahold of a top-secret chicken recipe. But there is more than delicious chicken at stake here. Food is the road home-geographically, emotionally, metaphorically. Peppered with cooking advice from chefs, ordinary folks, and celebrities including Fidel Castro himself (an advocate of pork), Phillipe Diederich's Sofrito is a love letter to the deepest recesses of nostalgia's heart."-Cristina Garcia, author of Dreaming in Cuban and King of Cuba

Frank Delgado is no thief. He co-owns a failing Cuban restaurant in Manhattan's Upper East Side. The restaurant, like Frank, is rudderless. Lost. He decides he'll save the restaurant by traveling to Cuba to steal the legendary chicken recipe from the famed El Ajillo restaurant in Havana. The recipe is a state secret, so prized that no cook knows the whole recipe. But Frank's rationale is ironclad-Fidel stole the secret from his family, so he will steal it back. He will triumphantly bring that recipe back to Manhattan and turn his fortunes around.

Frank has no interest in Cuba. His parents fled after the Revolution. His dead father spent his life erasing all traces of Cuba from his heart with barbeques, television, lawn mowing and alcohol. So Frank is not prepared for the real Cuba. Sure, he gets beat up and almost killed, the secret service threatens him, but in the midst of the chaos, he falls in love with a prostitute and the city, and he unwraps the heroic story of his parents' life. Cuba begins to bind Frank together, the way a good sofrito binds the flavors of a Cuban dish.

Phillippe Diederich is a Haitian-American writer. Born in the Dominican Republic, he was raised in Mexico City and Miami. His parents were kicked out of Haiti by the dictatorship of Papa Doc Duvalier in 1963. He spent his youth listening to his parents and friends talking politics and nostalgically dreaming of the day they would return to Haiti. In 1980, the family moved to Miami, where they joined a community of exiles from all parts of Latin America-Cuba, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador. Like other children of exiles, Diederich grew up without his relatives-grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts.

Diederich traveled repeatedly to Cuba as a photojournalist throughout the 1990s. He has an MFA in creative writing from the University of South Florida and lives in Florida. This is his first novel.

Friday, April 10, 2015

#FridayReads: Mi Comida Latina: Vibrant, Fresh, Simple, Authentic by Marcella Kriebel

Mi Comida Latina: Vibrant, Fresh, Simple, Authentic by Marcella Kriebel

A stunning, hand-lettered and fully cookbook featuring more than 100 authentic recipes collected from home kitchens across Latin America.

Discovered as a successful self-published Kickstarter project, Mi Comida Latina captures the warmth and depth of culinary traditions in Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Puerto Rico. Artist/author Marcella Kriebel’s vivid, charming watercolors accompany more than 100 recipes including arepas, tamales, ceviches, fish tacos, salsas, flan, spicy micheladas and icy watermelon paletas, plus traditional kitchen tools, techniques and practical tips for choosing and preparing mango, cactus, yucca, coconut and other produce. Every page is a joyous work of art.


Marcella Kriebel is an artist, food enthusiast, and cookbook author. She lives in Washington, D.C.





Friday, April 03, 2015

#FridayReads: Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America by Sandra Gutierrez

Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America by Sandra Gutierrez

In Empanadas, cookbook author, recipe developer, and Latin America native Sandra Gutierrez delves deep into the world of empanadas, teaching home and professional cooks everything they need to know about these delicious hand-held pies. 

Found from New York to Los Angeles, from Mexico to Brazil and into the Latin Caribbean, empanadas are the most widely eaten hand-held pies in the world. They can be filled with a marvelous array of ingredients featuring simple, vibrant flavors and can make a perfect snack, everyday meal, decadent dessert, or great party fare. 

Empanadas offers a collection of the most delicious recipes and essential tips on creating the perfect mini pie for any occasion, from Argentinian cheesy spinach empanadas, crispy Mexican chorizo and potato pies with tomatillo salsa, and flaky Brazilian shrimp and tomato empanadas to Costa Rican empanaditas stuffed with gooey pineapple jam. 

With an introduction on the history of empanadas, a lesson on dough types and folding techniques, 60 succulent recipes, and mouthwatering color photographs throughout, Empanadas is a beautiful, practical, and definitive guide to making, serving, and enjoying everyone’s favorite hand-held pie.





Sandra A. Gutierrez grew up in Guatemala, is an expert on Latin American cuisine, and is the author of The New Southern-Latino Table and Latin American Street Food. She teaches cooking classes and blogs at sandraskitchen.typepad.com.

Friday, March 27, 2015

#FridayReads: Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky

Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky:

The magnum opus from Alejandro Jodorowsky—director of The Holy Mountain, star of Jodorowsky’s Dune, spiritual guru behind Psychomagic and The Way of Tarot, innovator behind classic comics The Incal and Metabarons, and legend of Latin American literature.


There has never been an artist like the polymathic Chilean director, author, and mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky. For eight decades, he has blazed new trails across a dazzling variety of creative fields. While his psychedelic, visionary films have been celebrated by the likes of John Lennon, Marina Abramovic, and Kanye West, his novels—praised throughout Latin America in the same breath as those of Gabriel García Márquez—have remained largely unknown in the English-speaking world. Until now. 

Where the Bird Sings Best tells the fantastic story of the Jodorowskys’ emigration from Ukraine to Chile amidst the political and cultural upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries. Like One Hundred Years of Solitude, Jodorowsky’s book transforms family history into heroic legend: incestuous beekeepers hide their crime with a living cloak of bees, a czar fakes his own death to live as a hermit amongst the animals, a devout grandfather confides only in the ghost of a wise rabbi, a transgender ballerina with a voracious sexual appetite holds a would-be saint in thrall. Kaleidoscopic, exhilarating, and erotic, Where the Bird Sings Best expands the classic immigration story to mythic proportions.

Alejandro Jodorowsky was born to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants in Tocopilla, Chile. At twenty-three, he left for Paris to pursue theater and the arts, and has lived there ever since. His classic films include The Holy Mountain, El Topo, Santa Sangre, and, most recently, The Dance of Reality. A prolific author, he has written novels, poetry, short stories, essays, and more than thirty successful comic books. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

#FridayReads: The End of the Rainy Season: Discovering My Family's Hidden Past in Brazil by Marian Lindberg

The End of the Rainy Season: Discovering My Family's Hidden Past in Brazil by Marian Lindberg:

Marian Lindberg grew up being told that Walter Lindberg, the man who raised her father, was a brave explorer who had been murdered in the Amazon. She took her father's claims at face value, basking in her exotic roots, until she started to notice things. The unverified legend became a riddle she couldn't solve.

As Lindberg moved from journalism to law, fell in love, and sought a family of her own, her father repeatedly interfered. He had a closed vision of his family, and she-unlike the silent Walter-was breaking out.

Yet her father's story of the past haunted Lindberg. Long after her father's death, Lindberg set off for the Amazon, determined to find out the truth about Walter. Aided by generous Brazilians who adopted her search as if it were their own, she discovered as much about herself and her family as about Walter, whose true role in Brazil's history turned out to be unexpected and deeply troubling.

Sharply observant, wrought with honesty, and sweeping in its ambitions, The End of the Rainy Season is a powerful examination of identity and human relationships with nature, and between one another.



A lawyer and photographer as well as a writer, Marian E. Lindberg works in New York as Senior Staff Writer for The Nature Conservancy, an international environmental organization with programs throughout the United States and in over thirty countries, including Brazil, where much of The End of the Rainy Season takes place. Lindberg has lived in eastern Long Island with her son since 2005. She enjoys music and outdoor activities and has traveled extensively.

Friday, March 13, 2015

#FridayReads: The Wisdom of Perversity by Rafael Yglesias

The Wisdom of Perversity by Rafael Yglesias

I should have told. Julie’s right: I would have saved dozens of others. Jeff, Julie, Sam, the academy kids, the Huck Finn boys, everyone else was ignorant or greedy or scared or confused or overwhelmed by bullies, but I was strong enough—I could’ve pushed him away. I did push him away. I saved myself and let everyone else suffer. Me and the god of creation—we’re the villains of this story.

Brian and Jeff were best friends, growing up together in New York City in the late 1960s. Then something happened that drove a wedge between them, ending both their friendship and their childhood, something that neither ever spoke about . . . at least until their shared secret resurfaced some forty years later, forcing them to reunite and, along with Jeff’s cousin Julie, to face the consequences of their years of silence.

In The Wisdom of Perversity, Rafael Yglesias, the critically acclaimed, bestselling novelist and screenwriter and the author of A Happy Marriage, winner of the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize, and Fearless, the basis for the cult film by the same name, has crafted a novel that tells the stories of three childhood friends who join together as adults to acknowledge the ways in which their lives were altered by the actions of a predator, a predator who now, many years later, has been exposed by more recent victims yet is on the verge of escaping punishment--thanks to his wealth and influence.

Damaged in different ways by the events of the past but all sharing the same feelings of guilt and anger for allowing this man to go unpunished, leaving him free to abuse others, Julie, Jeff, and Brian band together to force a public outcry that will assure that he will finally face justice. With a tone that cleverly mixes humor with stark reality, The Wisdom of Perversity is a groundbreaking novel that by giving a voice to the youthful victims of sexual abuse will inspire both praise and debate.


Rafael Yglesias is a novelist and screenwriter, the son of writers Jose Yglesias and Helen Yglesias, who instilled in him the need to aim for psychological realism in his writing. Raised in Manhattan, he dropped out of high school to finish his first novel, Hide Fox, and All After, which was published in 1972. After writing three novels by the age of twenty-one, he stopped writing books between 1976 and 1984 and concentrated on starting a family, making a living by writing screenplays, none of which was produced. 

He returned to novels in 1986 with Hot Properties, followed by Only Children in 1988, The Murderer Next Door in 1990, Fearless in 1993, and Dr. Neruda's Cure for Evil in 1996. He also resumed writing screenplays, with the first to be produced, Fearless, based on his own novel. In all he has had five films produced. After the publication of Dr. Neruda's Cure for Evil, Yglesias took another break from writing novels, mostly because of the illness and death of his wife. He returned to novels with the publication of A Happy Marriage, an autobiographical story of his first marriage. It was awarded the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction and became a bestseller. His website is www.rafaelyglesias.com.
 
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