11 Nov / Diasporican: A Puerto Rican Cookbook by Illyanna Maisonet, photographs by Dan Liberti and Erika P. Rodriguez [in Shelf Awareness]
Diasporican by Illyanna Maisonet, the country’s first Puerto Rican food columnist for a major newspaper (San Francisco Chronicle), is an exquisite collection of recipes for a host of mouthwatering dishes. Despite its subtitle, Maisonet insists “this is not a Puerto Rican cookbook. This book is for the Diasporicans – the 5.5 million people living Stateside who continue to cook the food of our homeland.”
From her California kitchen, Maisonet gets personal: like her Puerto Rican-born mother and grandmother, she “did not have the privilege of cooking for pleasure or joy.” Her recipes are intimately flavored with glimpses of personal history – raw, violent, colonized. Maisonet presents expected recipes – Arroz con Gandules, Lechón, Mofongo, Flan – as well as delicious surprises such as Arroz Chino Boricua (due to the influx of Cuban Chinese immigrants in the 1950s), Coconut Soda-Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (because her grandmother used boxed mixes), and Puerto Rican Laab (because, as a teen, she lived with a Laotian family). Soulful nourishment, indeed.