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The Cuban Table: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History Hardcover – October 28, 2014
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“This book has a place in every kitchen.” ―The Miami Herald
“… [A] heartfelt tribute to Cuban Cuisine…Cooks will want to add this immersive and inspirational book to their collection.” ―Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
“A seat at this table will be a welcome one for those who grew up eating and preparing Cuban food as well as those who are curious and ready to learn about it.” ―Booklist
“Food writer Peláez's (hungrysofia.com) and photographer Silverman's passion for Cuban cooking leaps off the page...bursting with exotic and enticing words and tastes.” ―Library Journal, STARRED review
“...Ana Sofía Peláez melds food and family, Cuba and Miami, the past and the present...In this gem of a book, all Cubans--from here and there--sit at the same table. And what a table it is!...” ―Mirta Ojito, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus
“The goddess of fortune was smiling on Cuba when Ellen Silverman and Ana Sofia Pelaez hit its shores. Few capture the essence of a place, a people and their food as have these two. Visually true and beautiful, written with deep understanding and lusty appetite, this is one of those books you read, you cook with and come back to again and again. It's a keeper.” ―Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, host and producer of American Public Media's The Splendid Table, and authors of The Splendid Table's How to Eat Weekends
“Ana Sofia Pelaez's evocative writing and easy-to-follow recipes coupled with Ellen Silverman's gorgeous photography is a recipe for a timeless book. In The Cuban Table, they bring us wonderful Cuban recipes and the stories behind them. I can't wait to get into the kitchen with The Cuban Table!” ―Julia Turshen, food writer and coauthor of It's All Good
“With its superb photographs and enticing recipes, this is sure to become THE book on Cuban cooking and an entree IN to an extraordinary culture.” ―Sally Schneider, award-winning author of A New Way to Cook and The Improvisational Cook, and founder of improvisedlife.com
“The glow of family memories radiates from the recipes, stories, and food photographs of The Cuban Table as they show us Cuban and Cuban-Americans' strong connections to tradition. And I love Ellen Silverman's photographs of present-day Cuba, so full of life and confidence.” ―Naomi Duguid, writer and photographer, and author of Burma: Rivers of Flavor
“My copy of The Cuban Table is sure to be covered in the loving spills of so many meals: mornings spent savoring a classic cafe con leche, leisurely lunches that begin with the crunch of hot-fried mariquitas, and easy dinners with friends who can't get enough of the classic pork and beans (feel free to sub your favorite dinner recipe from the book here!). The original family recipes and accompanying gorgeous images will tempt you to try every dish--and you should!” ―Daphne Oz, author of Relish and cohost of The Chew
About the Author
ANA SOFIA PELAEZ grew up in a famous Cuban family as the great-niece of the revered avant-garde painter Amelia Peláez del Casal. Raised in Miami and transplanted to New York, Ana Sofia launched her food blog, Hungry Sofia, in 2008 in an effort to discover the rich smells, heady flavors, and baroque rituals of Latin food. Since then, she has been featured by The New York Times, InStyle magazine, The Huffington Post, Food 52, Apartment Therapy's the Kitchn, iVillage, and NBC Latino. She's appeared on the Cooking Channel's "Stay Hungry" campaign and Aarón Loves NY with Chef Aarón Sanchez. Most recently, Hungry Sofia was nominated by Saveur magazine as one of the Best Regional Cuisine blogs of 2012.
ELLEN SILVERMAN has photographed many bestselling cookbooks including Gwyneth Paltrow's My Father's Daughter, Daphne Oz's Relish, Karen DeMasco's The Craft of Baking, Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner's Neue Cuisine, Tracy Zabar's One Sweet Cookie, The Epicurious Cookbook, and the upcoming Jamaican cookbook by the Rousseau sisters, Bellyfull. An exhibition of her photographs of Cuban kitchens was shown at New York gallery Umbrella Arts, and was featured on NPR's The Picture Show, on Gourmet Live, The Splendid Table, and in Saveur magazine.
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Now, with my credentials in place, I have to say that, in my entire collection there isn't another book like this one. It is far and away, the BEST I've ever seen in every way that matters:
--the recipes are genuine.
--they are well-explained and easy to follow.
--there is fascinating anecdotal information about them and their history.
--traditional, current Cuban, and Cuban-American dishes are included.
--It is almost encyclopedic in its scope.
--they are presented and grouped logically.
--the photography is beautiful.
--the book is well-indexed and cross-referenced (not always a given in Latin cookbooks!)
--the book (paper weight, quality, cover, layout, design, etc.) is first class.
I have to congratulate the author for, not just her efficiency, but also for her sensitivity and her obvious love for her subject. I want to thank her not just on my own behalf but on behalf of my children's generation and other generations to come in both shores. And I have to congratulate myself on having had the sense to buy it the minute I saw it. I imagine that, someday, it will get a place of honor among my cookbooks but, for the time being, I'm just enjoying going on a culinary voyage of memory, imagination and taste.
The Caldo Gallego (Galician Stew) is a fantastic, comfort food kind of dinner. The Potage de Frijoles Negros (black bean pottage) is flavorful. My kids loved the Ensalada de Aguacate (avocado salad), with onions that are marinated to take the sharpness out of the taste.
Her Picadillo is great, too. I use it as a pastelitos filling, like the guava and queso at the beginning of the book. You place about a tablespoon of filling on a small round of puff pastry dough, and top it with a second round of puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm in the freezer) and seal the edges. I brush the tops with an egg wash or honey and sprinkle with sugar, and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
The tostone (plantain) cups are adorable. I've never seen them sculpted that way and can't wait to try! Amazon sells the presses - just search tostonera. Or you can make flat Tostones right in your tortilla press. Just don't press all the way.
The Croquetas de Media Noche (midnight croquettes) are Cuban sandwiches in croquette form. Delicious! Marquitas Con Vinagreta de Cilantro y Limon (fried plantains with lime-cilantro vinaigrette) are crispy and semi-sweet, balanced with the garlicky citrus dipping sauce. That's the only error I've found so far. The Lime-cilantro vinaigrette doesn't make 4 cups, so don't scale it down, because it's fantastic stuff!
She gives the names of the dishes in both Spanish and English. This is useful in two ways: 1) If you don't speak Spanish, you know what you're making, and 2) You know the real names to either try to make what you've enjoyed in restaurants, or to know what to order.
There are plenty of photos in the book, adding to the charm, and letting you know what the dishes should look like.