Cover Image: Diasporican

Diasporican

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Member Reviews

Here is an amazing work. It is visual and exciting. I would call it a masterpiece but that is not for me to say. The recipes give you a taste of Puerto Rico that’s exuberant, and personal. You can almost taste Maisonet is the best kind of food historian. One who reveres and protects their heritage. One who understands the importance of an open hearth. Happy Cooking
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This book is as much a love letter to the authors family & culture as it is a cookbook. 

I loved the beginning. Usually the useful tips and ideas are dry as dirt , but not with this author. They are funny and honest. Don’t skip this part. 

The recipes are easy to follow. Some ingredients may be harder to find but there’s always the internet.
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Delighted to include this title in “The Year in Reading,” my December year-end wrap up of personal favourites reads of 2022 for the Books section of Zoomer magazine. (see feature at link)
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⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

This was a really interesting cookbook to read. Part memoir, part cookbook, and a whole lot of yumminess! Diasporican is broken down into the following chapters...

<b>Poultry</b>
<b>Pork</b>
<b>Beef</b>
<b>Rice and Other Grains</b>
<b>Salads and Sides</b>
<b>Sweets and Drinks</b>

There is also a "forward" and "introduction" full of personal anecdotes and history. Introductions to flavors, produce, equipment, etc. If you are like me and love plenty of photos in your cookbooks, then you will not be disappointed. The recipes themselves are easy to follow. Though some do contain ingredients that may be hard to find depending where you live. I also really loved the personal stories before most of the recipes. 

**ARC Via NetGalley**
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This is a lovely mix of Puerto Rican recipes wholly derived from the island and those born from the diaspora. These recipes were influenced by Taino roots, colonizers and other settlers on the island along with being mixed with the outside influences from where the diaspora settled. Illyanna Maisonet's recipes are tinged with Mexican influences from their neighbors in California but she also details the influences to Puerto Rican cuisine in other parts of the country. There are mentions of Casa Adela in NYC and how this beacon of Puerto Rican cuisine in NYC started and developed it's food. It's a lovely mix of family history and the history of the diaspora's cuisine.
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I've been a major fan of Illyanna Maisonet's writing for about a decade now, so reading her nuanced take on her background and relationship with her culture was everything I could imagine her delivering after all of this time.
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Before I can begin to explain the delicious, mouthwatering meals I’ve created using Illyanna Maisonet’s “Diasporican: A Puerto Rican Cookbook,” I feel I must define “diaspora” (diaspora + Puerto Rican = “Diasporican”). Diaspora in this case refers people of other heritages who live apart from their countries of nationality, while preserving their culture. We are specifically referring to the author, Ms. Maisonet, who was born in Sacramento, California and is perpetuating traditional Puerto Rican recipes from her mother and grandmother, while also researching the flavor influences of Puerto Rico, which are from the Taino, Spanish, and African people, and the United States. The food is representative of their diversity and shaped by many factors, including immigration, location, and colonization. The book is packed with gorgeous travel photos and pictures of the completed recipes, and “reveals how food connects us to family, history, conflict, and migration.” (Penguin Random House)

This is an incredibly inviting cookbook, a memoir, and a fervent homage to Maisonet’s beloved Puerto Rico. Not only is the history of Puerto Rican cuisine extensively researched, the natural beauty of the island shows through the various included photos. She gives many cooking tips before she begins her recipes, and also includes how to make homemade seasoning, which is most convenient not only for authentic flavor, but for those who may not be able to find them premade in the sauce/spice aisles in their area. She describes various produce used in the recipes and even the traditional “equipment” needed. Maisonet also includes personal asides mentioning pointers such as when her family would serve a given recipe. I’d especially like to highlight the recipes for Empanadillas, Tostones, Maduros, Arañitas de plátanos, Guichis, Arepas, Arroz con gandules, Pinchos with guava bbq sauce, Perníl, Mofongo, Quesitos de queso y guyaba, and Arroz con dulce which were outstanding and happily eaten even by my pickiest family member. I look forward to recreating many more meals from the book as well. Though I am not Puerto Rican, I grew up with Cuban and Mexican friends who gladly came to my home for Italian food, and I to their homes for their cultural dishes. I lived in a beautiful melting pot city/neighborhood for most of my life, and I developed an enormous love and admiration for all cultures, especially Hispanic. I am thrilled to report that “Diasporican: A Puerto Rican Cookbook” is my first cookbook review, because deep down in my heart I consider myself a mujer hispana honoraria. 

I’d like to thank NetGalley, Illyanna Maisonet, and Ten Speed Press/Penguin Random House for allowing me to read and review this ARC.
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Such an amazing cookbook. Like truly learned so much while also being extremely hungry. Every recipe ive made has been delicious.
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I am so excited for this cookbook! Cooking is one of my passions and I love trying new ingredients and recipes from all over the world. I am not well versed in Puerto Rican cooking but this book is going to help expand my cooking skills and all of the recipes look so delicious! The cookbook is set up well, teaching the basics as well as mastering the meals
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I love the similarities between my country, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. I’m also surprised at the variety of their dishes. If you want to know more about the fascinating place that is Puerto Rico, this is the book for you. The recipes are easy enough to follow.
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This was probably one of the best cookbooks I have read in my life; and that is no exaggeration.  Until I started reviewing things on Netgalley I hadn't really thought of reading a whole cookbook like a novel, but when I began  doing it I realized how unique they can be. 
This cookbook goes into parts of the author's upbringing in multiple areas, and goes into the origin of the dishes she writes about, as well as the origin of some of her original recipes she uses personally. The author dives into the history of Puerto Rico and colonization, including how African, Puerto Rican, and  Chinese cultures all basically got mixed together. It's crazy to think that I have one daughter who is half Puerto Rican, and I have been around Puerto Rican people literally my whole life, and I knew none of this. For instance, to think of getting Chinese food in the heart of the city of Buffalo, NY, and how some Puerto Rican items are sold there with the Chinese food.  I never understood it, and I always thought it was a crazy Buffalo thing. Now I understand somewhat why this happens. 
I can't say how much I enjoyed reading the cookbook, and how well the author wrote. It flows so well, and it is written with true honesty, and it's evident. 
I have not been able to try the recipes yet, however, I will be purchasing a copy of this book to promptly do so. It's a lot harder for me to read the electronic version and be able to follow directions, etc. Thankfully I have many of the spices and ingredients at home already.  Definitely would recommend this book to all who have a yearning to learn more about the true history of Puerto Rico, and to learn how to cook their delicious food!
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This is a gorgeous cookbook with stunning pictures and wonderful recipes. It makes me homesick for somewhere I’ve never been. Highly recommended if you love the flavors of Puerto Rico cooking.
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I couldn't believe it when I saw the title and the content of this book. THIS book was SO NEEDED! We finally have a book that represents so many of us that have left the island for a better life but that does not mean we have forgotten about it or where we come from. We are proud of who we are. Food is a representation of love and connection and for us it means that and also means heritage and keeping the culture alive. Illyanna did a beautiful job with this compilation of recipes. I'm proud to be Boricua and proud of this book. Thank You for allowing me to read it in advance.
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Diasporicdan is a Puerto Rican cookbook I have always dreamed about. Its beautiful pictures and stories rooted in the history of Puerto Rican Heritage make this a fantastic cookbook. It makes me proud to be Puerto Rican and cherish my family and heritage. It also makes me very hungry!
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Diasporican is a stunning cookbook for more than the recipes. Turing the page of this cookbook feels like being honored by stepping into a sacred kitchen, being allowed to observe and learn about tradition, generational recipes, culture, and the heart and love of food and family. Not only are the photographs gorgeous but the stories and the recipes as well. As well as traditional recipes and family stories, this author talks about how she wove the past with the present and adjusted for the current atmosphere. The way this cookbook is both historical and modern really celebrates the food within on all levels. 

I was exciting to get some great Puerto Rican family recipes from this cookbook, to learn about the choice of ingredients, a secret recipe or two, and a funny anecdote. I wasn't expecting to become a part of the author's family, part of her kitchen and experience just a rich inversion into culture. 

Delicious food, amazing stories, comforting friends, and beautiful scenes; this is a top cookbook for sure. A must have for those looking for authentic Puerto Rican foods. A HUGE thank you to NetGalley, Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press and the author for an ARC of this amazing book. I will be getting myself a finished hard copy to display and enjoy though with all my cooking practice! I am leaving an honest review.
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I will read anything Illyanna Maisonet wants to write. She is like a breath of salt-tinged fresh air in a stuffy room. Reading Diasporican: A Puerto Rican Cookbook is a no-brainer for me. I want her to have the resources to write whatever she wants to write.

On almost every page of Diasporican I found myself muttering, “I love her.” This is one of the most quotable cookbooks I’ve read. I cannot share as many quotes as I’d like because I’m working from an advance reader copy, but I will share a couple. The water to rice ratio lie was one I came to grips with during my first professional (ish) cooking stint, so when I read this passage I threw my fist in the air:

And the 2:1 Eurocentric ratio most of y’all have been taught is a fucking lie.”

Maisonet’s cooking is rooted in her life and the lives of her grandmother and mother:

Margarita, Carmen, and I became cooks out of economic necessity. We did not have the privilege of cooking for pleasure or joy. Our story is one of generational poverty and trauma with glimpses of pride and laughter, all of which have been the catalysts of ample good food in my life.”

In the introduction and throughout the book, Maisonet shares glimpses of her life, the fusion of cultures at the heart of Puerto Rican cooking, the immigrant experience that makes her cooking Diasporican, and her experiences in Puerto Rico. She also points out places where Puerto Rico has been shaped by Spanish colonialism, slavery, and US Imperialism.

Some of the recipes were familiar to me because my bff is a Jewish Puerto Rican vegetarian who taught me how to make sofrito and arroz con gandules. (I will never forget the time she made bacalao when we were studying for finals and forgot to rinse the salted cod. It was still delicious and I was obsessed for years.) Sofrito is magical, though the recipe I have from my bff is different from Maisonet’s. Not all of the recipes are going to be accessible to everyone, because not all the ingredients will be accessible. Sometimes this bothers me in cookbooks, but it didn’t here. I think that was mostly because I found the cookbook such an engaging read.

I’ve ordered a hardback copy which has not arrived yet. I already plan to make Salmorejo, which is not tomato soup in Puerto Rico, but a crab dish served over rice. I have made Pinchos (chicken skewers) with Guava BBQ sauce and it was the perfect blend of sweet and spicy.

I received this as an advance reader copy from Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press and NetGalley. My opinions are my own, freely and honestly given.
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I really liked how much information about the culture and surrounding culture of Puerto Rico, about its foods, and where some of it comes from. I expected a simple cookbook and to learn a couple of new recipes, which I did, but I also got to learn more about a culture that I am a part of, which is something I appreciate it immensely. 
Thank you NetGalley, Clarkson Potter & Ten Speed Press for trusting me with this.
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Beautiful writing; crisp, colorful photography; and a wealth of recipes can be found in Diasporican by Illyanna Maisonet. The rich content begs to be read, not just referenced for individual recipes. Unfortunately, the digital review copy provided does not include page numbers in the table of content, nor are the recipes linked, making the digital review copy very difficult to navigate and use as a cookbook. I'll be picking up a print copy to enjoy the book better and hope that the final digital copy is more user-friendly.
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“Diasporican” refers to the Puerto Rican diaspora. Most people connect that diaspora to New York City, Orlando and Chicago; however, Boricua cookbook author Illyanna Maisonet grew up in a rundown working-class neighborhood of Sacramento. Her recipes reflect that fusion to an extent, but that’s not my problem with this cookbook.

Maisonet makes Puerto Rican dishes needlessly complicated. Cuba and Puerto Rico were sister colonies (just look at their respective flags if you don’t believe me), and the two islands share very similar accents, colonial architecture, demographics and cuisines.

If you don’t live in a foodie mecca, this book may or may not be for you, as you can’t get malanga (a potato-like Caribbean tuber), rabbit, longaniza sausage, persimmons, octopus, cubanelle peppers or pineapple vinegar. If you live in the rural United States, where you can’t get rice flour, plantains or chayote — much less bacalao (salted cod) or achiote, and you’ve never even heard of yucca or quenepa — this book is definitely not for you.

Even if you can get all the ingredients (in Louisville, Ky., I can get nearly all), Maisonet complicates dishes for no reason. Wash rice twice before cooking? No thank you; I’ll use my rice cooker please. (My mother always called them “Hitachis,” which doesn’t even make them anymore from what I can discover.) Bell peppers are perfectly acceptable for cubanelles or ají dulce, and Bijol (available cheaply online) proves just as good as achiote for color and flavor. I buy my Puerto Rican sofrito at the grocery store. (Cuban sofrito is even easier to make, and I make that from scratch.) And my mother was using a pressure cooker to cook beans without presoaking when Fulgencio Batista was still the dictator of Cuba; just use your Instant Pot, okay? 

My advice? Stick with Von Diaz and Cocina Criolla.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley, Clarkson Potter and Ten Speed Press in exchange for an honest review.
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What a very interesting book about the food Puerto Rico and how she presented it. And how this food traveled from Puerto Rico to Sacramento to New York and how it bought back memories. I never knew this much about puerto rican cooking but it's interesting because it's based on Spanish and  How native people incorporated as well what Spanish f Food. And how sometimes it has changed some of the recipes when they came to America because the supermarket didn't really carry that type of food. But it was interesting with different soups and desserts and how she traced  Her memories threw her family through these  Recipes. I'd like the descriptions of how these recipes came about in the history behind them. So it's like reading a novel through recipes.
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