From Publishers Weekly
Food columnist Carballo's devotion to both her Cuban homeland and the magnificent food of her childhood are evident in this memoir with recipes. She grew up in prerevolutionary Cuba in the 1950s with divorced parents—her father, a philandering fortune-teller, instilled in his daughter a passion for food. "My dad loved every kind of food and always encouraged me to sample right along with him," Carballo writes. "He took pleasure in every bite. It was a joyful experience, and since then I have always associated food with being cosseted, with being happy." This anecdote is followed by a recipe for Roast Duck El Pacifico. Each vignette is a mere tidbit, a taste of Carballo's life, covering her family's eccentric friends, her years in an American convent boarding school, her early romances, right up to her escape to the U.S. after Castro came to power. The stories are not as consistently fulfilling as the recipes; the ones she doesn't tell are quite interesting: "Little did I know that my mother was on a mission to the Sierra Maestra carrying medicines and small arms" is virtually all she writes about her mother's astonishing work. The memoir is a treat, although more substantial fare would have been nice. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"What to serve for dinner the night a new dictator comes to town? If you are like Viviana Carballo and lived in Cuba during the heady first days of 1959, you make pollito en cazuela (stewed whole chicken), accompanied by arroz con coco (coconut rice), and wash it all down with a Kir Royale, of course!...[A] witty, delicious book."
-- Mirta Ojito, author of Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus
"Readers looking for standards like tostones and cubanos will be satisfied and then enchanted by unique recipes that could only come from Carballo's experiences."
-- New York Post"Havana Salsa
is food-as-memoir set at a diverse and often eccentric table....[Carballo's] Cuba will never be filled with decaying buildings, rationed supplies and difficult goodbyes. All she has to do is go into the kitchen, and the vibrant pulse of her homeland is revived in a whiff of ripe mango [and] the sizzle of calabaza fritters on the stove."
-- The Orlando Sentinel
"A delicious combination of tales about [Carballo's] quirky family and recipes for dishes that are seared into her memory."
-- The Miami Herald
--This text refers to the