My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef

Knopf. May 2022. 304p. ISBN 9780525659600. $35. COOKING
James Beard Award–winning chef Onwuachi follows up his 2019 memoir Notes from a Young Black Chef with this Black diaspora cookbook featuring a wide array of recipes from North, West, and East Africa; the Caribbean; and the American South. In texts sprinkled among the recipes, Onwuachi discusses these cuisines’ particular significance to him and recounts visiting the regions from which his family originated. (Onwuachi was himself raised in the Bronx, Louisiana, and Nigeria.) These sections provide context and bring Onwuachi’s recipes to life. The cookbook’s comprehensive pantry section discusses spice blends and sauces that appear in many of the recipes; Onwuachi’s touchstones are a ginger-garlic puree (which he learned from a friend in India) and what he calls a traditional house spice. Among the recipes (spanning rice; greens and vegetables; legumes and tubers; seafood and shellfish; poultry; meat; and breads, puddings, and desserts), a handful (moi moi from Nigeria; Jamaican beef patty; lamb sambusas with shiro wat from Ethiopia; dhal puri roti from Trinidad and Tobago; m’semen from North Africa) include step-by-step photos that will help home cooks assemble the recipes with confidence.
VERDICT A beautifully photographed cookbook that will entice readers.
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