Yasmin Newman’s book launch for “7000 Islands — A Food Portrait of the Philippines” is on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 4pm at National Book Store at Glorietta 1, Makati, and I really wanted to attend, but I am leaving for Bangkok a few hours before that. If you are in the vicinity, do go and listen to her brief talk and peruse her book, it is lovely. I bought a copy of the book today, and was pleasantly surprised to see Marketman/Marketmanila mentioned in three of the recipes and photos at Zubuchon here and there. It will proudly sit amongst my growing collection of cookbooks from around the world. :)
Back up a year or so, a chance call (or was it aided by the Department of Tourism perhaps) to our General Manager at Zubuchon, and I happened to be there when Yasmin explained that she was traveling through the archipelago, and intended to write a Filipino cookbook to be published in Australia. I ended up inviting Yasmin to lunch a few hours later. She was vivacious, curious, insightful and highly professional. I took a liking to her immediately, and after a few hours discussing Filipino food over a meal of lechon and other dishes, I cleared my schedule the next day to show her some of the recipes that she eventually featured in her cookbook. Regular readers know that I will go out of my way to promote Filipino food whenever a good opportunity presents itself.
The book is VERY nicely done. Yasmin’s mother is Filipino, and her father Australian, but she grew up in a home with a lot of Filipino food and travelled back to the Philippines to visit family often. It has a westerner’s outlook on Filipino food, but it is quite authentic and clearly cognizant of several nuances of the cuisine. For a writer based abroad, I think she did a great job of infusing the book with a lot of local heart, but still making the book very user friendly for non-Filipinos.
Yasmin featured three recipes that we cooked together on her visit. A chicken binakol, chicken inasal and her version of a rolled pork belly roasted in an oven which she christened a “Lechon Liempo”. :)
I think Yasmin took all the photographs as well, or perhaps most of them, as I recall her emailing me that a photographer was engaged to take some of the shots, and there are food as well as scenic shots as well. Overall, a really positive take on the cuisine and the country.
At nearly 340 pages, it’s chockfull with lots and lots of recipes, pinoy favorites that will resonate well with locals and foreign based Filipinos as well. It may also be one of the few Filipino cook books that non-Filipinos will find throughly engaging and interesting to read. At PHP1,295 local price, for a very nicely done book, I thought it was a real bargain. Now if only I managed to get someone to bring my book to the book launch to get it autographed! Congratulations Yasmin on a wonderfully done book! :)
Lori Baltazar, of the blog “Dessert Comes First” has also recently published a book of the same name… part cookbook, part articles from her blog, part features on local chefs and foodies, and part chronicle of her own adventures over the past decade or so, it is a nicely done book. Congratulations Lori!
I purchased the book at Fully Booked, which also happens to be the publisher. I haven’t really tried any of the recipes and I am sometimes overwhelmed by all the text, but this perhaps reflects the way the younger generation thinks today… a mish mash of lots of interesting information, presented in a sort of cut and paste mode, with dividers and inserts and different fonts constantly piquing one’s interest, keeping you thumbing through the pages of this 300+ page book.
Lori took most if not all of the photos in the book, and as with her blog, the photos are very nice.
She features several food purveyors and chefs, two of whom have recently passed away, and she writes wonderful tributes to them. If you are a fan of Lori’s blog, or simply want a well thought out compendium of food articles, travel pieces, recipes, tips for baking and features on chefs, you may want to check out this book.
At roughly PHP1,500 for the book, it’s on par with similar sized foreign published hardbound cookbooks, and I hope it does really well so that a paperback version becomes available at a lower price point in the future. When I get a bit of time in the kitchen, I look forward to trying a few of her recipes. Brava Lori! :)
Angelo Comsti’s book “From Our Table to Yours” was the first of these three books to be published. Publishers Marshall Cavendish from Singapore helped Angelo put together this paperback book of “heirloom” recipes from friends, family and contacts in the food industry. It is a 140 page paperback that is very accessible and quite personal in feel, with contributors providing old photos of their ancestors that came up with the recipes that are featured.
I had worked with Angelo a few times for articles in Yummy magazine in the past, so when he asked for a recipe, I gave an updated version of my mom’s chicken pospas or arroz caldo, this time done with lechon broth and topped with lechon flakes… :)
Other recipes you may be interested to try are Patricia Locsin’s take on her grandmonther’s FABULOUS lumpia ubod, based on a session we shared in the kitchen when we visited Bacolod several years ago…
The recipes aren’t all pinoy, but they present a snapshot of the way Filipino families eat these days… a mixture of cuisines and dishes in addition to traditional fare. Perhaps taking a cue from these varied recipes within, the cover features a photo of a Russian babushka(?) looking thing, some apple tea, and the back cover has nectarines coming out of a jute sack?! What those have to do with Filipino recipes escapes me, but it is otherwise a very visually appealing and very approachable collection of recipes. I don’t recall how much the book cost, but I think it was roughly PHP700 in local bookstores. With so many contributors in this book, I suspect it will be a Christmas giveaway favorite. :)