Colombiana: A Rediscovery of Recipes and Rituals from the Soul of Colombia

Harper Wave. Jun. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780063019430. pap. $32.50. COOKING
In a collection celebrating her native country, food stylist and recipe developer Velásquez pays homage to and reflects on cuisines that have influenced Colombian food, including Indigenous, African, and European cultures, as well as her own Syrian Lebanese heritage. For Velásquez, cooking is a source of comfort and care, as well as a way to spend time with family. Her talents as a food stylist are on full display (with attractive color photography) as she showcases the diversity of Colombia’s cuisine, with menus (and playlists) for communal gatherings. Memories of Velásquez’s grandmothers resonate in each chapter: she recreates some of their favorite meals and offers fresh takes on their recipes for arepas and empanadas. The chef writes that she has a major sweet tooth, and her desserts, such as a chocolate, tamarind, and cashew tart, are a highlight of the book. Alongside Velásquez’s own story, this book also includes occasional profiles of Colombian women who are making lasting impressions on the country’s food scene.
VERDICT An inviting cookbook from a chef on the rise. Home cooks new to Colombian cuisine will be engaged by Velásquez's welcoming voice and varied menu options.
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