Cover Image: Diasporican

Diasporican

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Member Reviews

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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5 stars

I come from the desert west coast so Puerto Rican food is quite literally foreign to me, I have always been very curious and wanted to try. This book was amazing. I loved learning about the traditions and culture along the way. All of the pictures were beautiful as well. I usually like to try a recipe prior to writing a review but due to some health issues that won’t be possible this time around. However I do look forward to trying some in the very near future.
The recipes are not nearly as complicated as I thought they were going to be, and the ingredients lists are very manageable. I didn’t see anything that I couldn’t get at a local grocer, so that’s is wonderful too.

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This book has beautiful photos and a frank personal point of view on Puerto Rican cuisine and the diaspora it inhabits. I especially appreciate this book at a time that Puerto Rico needs so much support and funding for rebuilding after being devastated twice by hurricanes.

The recipes have accompanying photos and range from simple to complex and have very clear, specific instructions that are easy to follow. There is even a recipe and detailed instructions on how to roast a whole pig!

There aren't a lot of great Puerto Rican cookbooks out there, particularly from this much-needed perspective. I highly recommend it.

Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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What a gorgeous book! Diasporican is half educational and half cookbook. And it's packed with absolutely beautiful photos. Even if you're not that interested in cooking, it would make a gorgeous coffee table book. Some of the ingredients aren't super easy to find, but the book does a good job of describing them and helping to guide the readers to be able to obtain them. So far, I've only made Nina DeeDee's Beans (so easy and so delicious!), but I have so many more recipes bookmarked to make in the future!

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Diasporican is just as diverse as the people of Puerto Rico and includes recipes both from the island and from new dishes created created as islanders left and adapted traditional recipes to the places where they immigrated to. But it’s not merely a cookbook. It’s a paean to history of the island, its people, and the author’s family. It’s an ode to survival of the poorest, a nation that has limited access to affordable food. It is rude in the best ways like a chat with friends. I adore this book. It’s not simply a resource for recipes but begs to be read cover to cover for the people and places and history. With as little as we know about Puerto Rico, this book is a wonderful resource on many levels.

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This cookbook is beautiful inside and out! Its chalked full of beautiful pictures and Puerto Rican recipes and history. I can't wait to put this on my store's shelves!

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Not Your Run of the Mill Cookbook

If you're looking at Diasporican as your run of the mill cookbook, you will be sorely disappointed, and you will end up missing out on a great experience. Diasporican is a combination memoir, history book, and cookbook, which is what makes it so special. The author does a great job of bringing her personal connections into the recipes. She also shares a lot of the history behind the culture of Puerto Rico and its impact on the foods.

I like that the recipes are not watered down with non traditional ingredients. They are very much the real deal which is what true Puerto Rican cuisine is all about. I also appreciate the anecdotes the author shared with the recipes. While I greatly enjoyed the book, I will caution you that the author did not filter her use of some profanity. It is not overdone, but it does exist, so be forewarned. In my humble opinion, I feel that language isn't necessary and is the only thing that put me off a bit. Even so, I recommend Diasporican to all.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All comments and opinions are strictly my own.

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Part cookbook and part memoir, this book brings you historical culture and traditions as well as recipes for dishes. The author also speaks about how recipes have evolved. Knowing the origins of the dishes enhances my interests and gives me talking points with family and friends when sharing the delicious meals.

I was ecstatic to receive this book. I love Puerto Rican cuisine and cannot wait to learn how to make certain recipes within, especially the Pernil and Tembleque.

I want to thank NetGalley, Illyanna Maisonet and Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed Press, Ten Speed Press for the e-ARC of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are honest, my own and left voluntarily.

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Maisonet has such a fun voice! Loved learning more about PR and her story! The photos are beautiful.

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I’ve been so excited to read this book since the cover was released and it did not disappoint. As a son of Caribbean immigrants & born in the states I could relate to the author in many ways. The food of the islands draw from so many different cultures. If you’re a reader of Illyanna’s newsletter and afraid that the book might lose some of her voice, there’s no need to worry. The author is real and she tells it like it is with no filter. The photographs are beautiful and tell a beautiful tale or the cuisine and of Illyanna and her family. A big thanks to to publisher for granting me an early peek.

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Having little to no knowledge of Puerto Rican food.. this was a nice introduction. The recipes are intriguing, and there were lots of things bookmarked to make! A little carb heavy, but still.. all looks tasty.

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Delicious recipes, I can't wait to try them!

Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publishers for letting me access an advance copy in exchange for my honest feedback.

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This cookbook is more than just a group of recipes; it is an invitation in to get a clear view of what makes Puerto Rican cooking so phenomenal; from the rich history to the influence of outsiders, the recipes are more of the history of this Island paradise and the people who made them.

My only complaint was that I wish there were more pictures! The pictures that were included were stunning.

I received a digital copy via #NetGalley and the publishers and will go out and purchase a hard copy because I enjoyed it that much.

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Wonderful photos and recipes, complete with traditional stories and personal touches. While I was hoping to want to cook the entirety of this book, sadly not many recipes piqued my interest. I would love more photos - that is one of my favorite thing in a cook book - pictures of the food that you can imagine cooking, and think that the lack of these influenced my desire to test out the tasty treats in this book. I would recommend this book.

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I am a Puerto Rican that was born on the island and then moved to the US at a young age. My parents always cooked Puerto Rican food and all of these recipes feel very authentic to the stuff that I grew up with. I really love the personality of the author, it felt like I was talking to one of my mom's comadres. The pictures in the book are beautiful and everything looked so so appetizing. I also really loved how this book snuck in a history lesson of Puerto Rico, I learned so much about my own country and cuisine. There are a lot of recipes that I cannot wait to try! I think I am going to try the Puerto Rican Chinese rice and the guava y queso pastelillos first! Thank you to Netgalley and Ten Speed Press for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I loved everything about this book! Cooking is one of my main hobbies. I was excited to read this as a person who loves cooking as well as being a half puertorican who knows next to nothing about being puertorriqueña. I loved the way the author gives a brief history of the island and her people to explain how some of the most popular foods in Puerto Rico came from colonization. Full of authentic recipes this is a comprehensive guide to puertorican cooking(especially if your family moved to the West coast like mine and the authors). This book was a unique look at the struggles of being puertorican in the mainland and it made me order some of the crucial ingredients I’ve been missing as well as planning on cooking arroz con gandules(with chicken) for dinner tonight! I cannot recommend this book enough to other Puertoricans as well as anyone who wondered about the little island south east of Florida.

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