cover image The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes That Make America Great

The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes That Make America Great

Edited by Leyla Moushabeck. Interlink, $35 (224p) ISBN 978-1-56656-038-2

In her introduction, Moushabeck (Soup for Syria) references “these troubling times of anti-immigrant rhetoric” and counters that rhetoric by extolling the culinary gifts 42 million American immigrants have given the country, which are the inspiration for this excellent collection of recipes provided by immigrants and their descendants. Each recipe includes a personal, often touching headnote and brief bio. The diversity of recipes is staggering: Armenian yogurt soup, roasted whole fish from Senegal with a bracing spice rub, colorful Singapore stir-fry. Some are innovative twists on classics; others are tried-and-true favorites. Author and blogger Nadia Hassani combines her German and Tunisian heritage by braiding challah dough around a rhubarb filling. Chef Reem Assil discovered muhammara while visiting her father’s family in Syria. Ivan Garcia’s pozole is eaten in Mexico to celebrate Mother’s Day, birthdays, and “sometimes a divorce.” Moushabeck strikes a balance between big-name chefs (Michelin-starred chef and humanitarian José Andrés checks in with his wife’s gazpacho) and figures such as Tunde Wey, who emigrated from Nigeria at 16 and runs a dinner series exploring race. Wey’s contribution is a recipe for smoky jollof rice, made with turmeric, coriander, and chili pepper. Affection for these dishes is palpable: writer Samantha Seneviratne says that her cashew semolina cake from Sri Lanka is so fragrant that it “doubles as aromatherapy” while baking. This is an outstanding melting pot of recipes. (Dec.)