Islas: A Celebration of Tropical Cooking-125 Recipes from the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Ocean Islands

Islas: A Celebration of Tropical Cooking-125 Recipes from the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Ocean Islands

by Von Diaz
Islas: A Celebration of Tropical Cooking-125 Recipes from the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Ocean Islands

Islas: A Celebration of Tropical Cooking-125 Recipes from the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Ocean Islands

by Von Diaz


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With vibrant photography to pair with a slew of recipes, this book will have you in the tropics from the moment you open the front cover. With personal narratives attached to each recipe, this is as much a kitchen assistant as it is an exploration of tradition.

An intimate reflection on tropical island cooking's bold flavors and big stories, with 125 recipes, from celebrated food writer Von Diaz. 

The islands spanning the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans are remarkable places, sharing dozens of ingredients and cooking techniques, including marinating, pickling and fermentation, braising and stewing, frying, grilling and smoking, and steaming and in-ground roasting. Bold flavors drip from the edges of each dish with tastes that represent stories of resistance, persistence, and wisdom passed down from generation to generation.

This narrative cookbook by writer, documentary producer, and author Von Diaz travels across oceans and nations to uplift the shared ancestral cooking techniques of these islands in more than 125 recipes, including intimate profiles of the historical context of each technique, stories from islanders, and step-by-step guides for recreating them at home.

Recipes include:
  • Coco Bread from Jamaica
  • Arroz con Jueyes (Stewed Crab Rice) from Puerto Rico
  • Masikita (Papaya-Marinated Beef Skewers) from Madagascar
  • Bebek Betutu (Roasted Duck in Banana Leaf) from Indonesia 
  • Lechon Kawali (Crispy Fried Pork Belly) from the Philippines

Bright citrus and vinegars, verdant herbs, slow-cooked and smoky grilled meats, fresh seafood, aromatic rice, and earthy root vegetables: These flavors, found in the meals and recipes across these island nations pair remarkably well together, despite distance and cultural differences. The ingredients and deep-rooted cooking techniques in each of these recipes typify the harmonious, synchronous spirit found in each culture's unique cuisines. Even amid environmental chaos and food insecurity, islanders cook in ways that are soul nourishing and flavorful.

Islas is about preserving the wisdom, values, and resilience of the people who live in some of the most volatile, vulnerable places on this planet. Each recipe, an archive of strategies for persistence, creativity, and ingenuity, provides a path for cooking delicious food. But above all, these stories and recipes acknowledge that cooking delicious food for others is always a selfless act.

AN AUTHENTIC DEEP DIVE INTO UNDERREPRESENTED FOODWAYS: Amid environmental chaos and food insecurity, and with limited ingredients, islanders cook in ways that are soul nourishing and emphasize flavor. This book expertly and authentically presents the diverse recipes and techniques of the islands of the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. 

DETAILED RECIPES AND FULL-COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS: Each of the techniques and recipes are paired with lots of how-tos and step-by-step guides, including key historical and scientific background to help you master these delicious recipes—from quick pickles to soups, stews, and barbecues—at home. 

EXPERT AUTHOR AND A LEADING VOICE: Von Diaz is a celebrated author and seasoned food researcher who has dedicated her life to bringing forth unique food stories and the people behind them. 

Perfect for:
  • Anyone interested in learning more about AAPI cooking and cuisine
  • A great hostess gift or self-purchase for those who enjoy entertaining and exploring food cultures around the world
  • An educational and practical resource for sustainable cooking enthusiasts 
  • Special occasion, holiday, or birthday present for foodies and cookbook collectors 
  • Those who enjoy Salt, Fat, Acid, HeatCoconut & SambalCook Real Hawai'i; and Ottolenghi cookbooks


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781797215242
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication date: 03/12/2024
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 57,902
Product dimensions: 10.10(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Von Diaz is an Emmy Award-winning documentarian and food historian. She is the author of Coconuts & Collards: Recipes and Stories from Puerto Rico to the Deep South and Islas: A Celebration of Tropical Cooking (March 2024). She is also the founder of La Piña—a Substack newsletter covering the people, ingredients, and systems that shape global cuisine. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Atlanta, GA, she explores the intersections of food, culture, and identity. She has contributed recipes and essays to a number of cookbooks and anthologies and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, StoryCorps, Food & Wine, and Bon Appétit, among many others. In addition, she taught food studies and oral history at Duke University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and food writing and audio production workshops at New York University and The New School. She currently sits on the Advisory Board for the Toni Tipton Martin Foundation and is a member of the Journalism Committee for the James Beard Foundation.
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