autumn 2022 cookbook club starts soon!

savoring latin america

Autumn is a perfect time to hit the books. Especially if we’re talking about cookbooks!

This autumn, we’re celebrating the diversity, history, and deliciousness of the foods of Central and South America and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Our theme is Savoring Latin America. That’s a lot to cover in four books. And I know we’ll barely scratch the surface. But I also know we’re going to have a great time trying!

about the books 

The Latin American Cookbook by Virgilio Martínez 

Spanning two continents, 20 countries, multiple languages, and countless culinary traditions, Latin America is a huge topic to take on. This book’s coverage of smaller countries whose cooking is not otherwise well documented in English is a big part of why it’s the first book we’ll work from this season. 

The Chilean Kitchen by Pilar Hernandez and Eileen Smith

Chile stretches 2,300 miles along the Pacific coast, a distance equivalent to that between Alaska and Guatemala. That span of miles north to south means tremendous diversity of climate and local foods, as well as local traditions.

Colombiana by Mariana Valasquez

For those of us who have not travelled to Colombia, or dined at the home of Colombian friends, Colombiana reveals fresh ways of combining and using ingredients that reflect the diversity of the distinct regions of this small country (Pacific, Amazonian, Andean, Orinoco, Caribbean, and Insular). We’re going to try to sample it all!

Diasporican by Illyanna Maisonet

This visual record of Puerto Rican food, ingredients, and techniques traces the island’s flavor traditions to the Taino, Spanish, African, and even United States’ cultures that created it. Each dish is shaped by geography, immigration, and colonization, and reflects the ingenuity and diversity of their people. In it, the author shares how food connects family, history, conflict, and migration.  

now for some big news

This is my sixth season of hosting the Kitchen Arts & Letters and 92nd Street Y cookbook group and I couldn’t be happier about it! Even better, after years of blogging about our group experiences here on Wander, Eat and Tell, I now have the opportunity to reach a bigger audience… Cookbook Club now has its very own home on the Kitchen Arts & Letters website! So, if you’d like to read more details about the books we’re cooking from, and about Cookbook Club in general, you’ll find lots more there.

Don’t worry though! I’ll still be posting updates here! They’ll be a little shorter and less frequent in order to make more time and space for Wandering, Eating, (Drinking), and Telling. That’s because I have some great new travels coming up that I want to share here. More on that later.


join me!

Cookbook group meets live on Zoom for four 90-minute sessions (7-8:30 pm Eastern). This season’s dates are Tuesdays: October 18, November 1, 15, and 29. As soon as you register, the first three books will ship to you (or you can visit the store in person). Book four is a new release that will ship as soon as it’s available.

There’s still plenty of time to register, have your four cookbooks shipped to you, and get cooking! Registration is through our friends at the 92nd Street Y – for more information click HERE.

can’t join in person?

I’ll be writing more about each of the four books and our experiences with them as the season progresses. But, I’ll be doing it from the club’s new location on the Kitchen Arts & Letters website! Bookmark this link to follow along there… Cookbook Club on Kitchen Arts & Letters.

want to catch up from the beginning?

If you’re just joining us and would like to catch up on previous cookbooks from past seasons, you can catch up from the start HERE.  

going to Peru, part 3

so close I can almost taste it!

Are you going to Peru with me in October? It’s coming up soon! I have my plane tickets and the itinerary is confirmed… so close I can almost taste the ceviche, the pisco, and the hundreds of other flavors I’ve never experienced before!

If you’re still on the fence about joining me, the time to decide is coming up soon – August 26th, to be exact. That’s the deadline for booking with full payment. There are still a few spots left, so click through and claim yours while you can!

Keep reading for more good reasons to join me… or just reasons to put Peru on your bucket list for future travels.

Continue reading “going to Peru, part 3”

cookbook club: mastering the art of French cooking

For the grand finale of our Spring 2022 season, Legendary Women Cookbook Authors, Part 1, we’re talking about the woman who inspired the subject to begin with. Julia Child. 

Yes, there were legends before her – I’m talking about you, Fanny Farmer and Irma Rombauer… and so many more. But… Julia. Some thought that, at forty years old, she was getting a late start.

No. Her timing was as impeccable as her omelet making instructions. Any earlier and the world would not have been ready for her. But when she met Louisette Bertholle and Simone “Simca” Beck in 1949, it was the perfect storm. 

Continue reading “cookbook club: mastering the art of French cooking”

cookbook club: breath of a wok

Did you know that traditional hand-hammered woks have become a rarity, even in China? Have you ever wondered what makes great stir-fried foods so much better than the average stuff we make at home? Have you ever heard of “wok hay”? Want to learn more? Well, I’ve got the perfect book for you!

We’re three books into our Spring 2022 season of cookbook club, Legendary Women Cookbook Authors, Part 1, and this time, our legend is a woman just hitting her full stride into the arena of legends. A woman whose impact is growing exponentially, even as I write this. 

Grace Young is a Chinese-American cookbook author and culinary historian from San Francisco, although she calls New York City home these days. Grace Young has been called a “Stir-fry Guru,” a “Wok Evangelist,” and the “Wok Queen.” My favorite title for Grace came from food historian (another legend) Betty Fussell, who called her “Poet laureate of the wok” – it suits her well!

All those honors were sufficient for us to include Young in “part one” of our legends’ series. Then she raised the bar. Young’s work as a culinary author and educator is only surpassed by her activism in support of the AAPI community and Chinatowns nationwide. And that’s what’s getting recent attention. 

Continue reading “cookbook club: breath of a wok”

cookbook club: essentials of classic Italian cooking

Welcome to the second book of the Spring 2022 season! 

When I started considering legendary women cookbook authors, Marcella Hazan was on top of the list. Maybe it was the fact that, for me, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking was the equivalent of the previous generation’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking was the first “real” cookbook I purchased on my own. From Kitchen Arts & Letters, nonetheless. It’s been back and forth across this country several times. It’s been in my kitchen through phases when most of my other books were in storage. The spine of my book is broken at the page for asparagus risotto, where I also found a Gourmet Magazine subscription card from 1992.

I knew nothing about Marcella Hazan, but I knew I wanted to cook and learn about “real” Italian food. I looked in the giant Manhattan phone book for a cooking school . I found a listing for the School of Classic Italian Cooking. It was blocks from my apartment. I called the number. Marcella answered herself. She gruffly informed me that classes were held in her home kitchen and no space was available. Her abrupt dismissal scared the heck out of me, and I lost my nerve to pursue the conversation any further. 

I write that with a twinge of regret.

Continue reading “cookbook club: essentials of classic Italian cooking”

going to Peru, part 2

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter P….

(despite the cover photo being maize!)

I like alliteration. So, this introduction to Peruvian foods is about two things that Peru has in abundance – Peruvian potatoes and pisco. One is the national spirit, and the other is (are?) the region’s gastronomic gift to the world, and a prime example of Peru’s biodiversity. 

first, a little about biodiversity

Peru is celebrated for its natural biodiversity. The country is number one in the world for the diversity of fish with over 2,100 species found in its waters (and it has some beautiful waters). And first for butterflies. There are over 4,000 unique species of butterflies found in Peru. In fact, Peru ranks in the top five in the world for most categories of flora and fauna.

Continue reading “going to Peru, part 2”

cookbook club: king Solomon’s table

Welcome to the first cookbook of Spring 2022. This season’s theme is Legendary Women Cookbook Authors. Before we dig into our first book, I think we need to address an important question… 

what makes a legend? 

I believe it’s something beyond fame. You don’t become legendary just from being famous. One must DO something to deserve that accolade. And, yes, it must be deserved. A legend is one who leaves an indelible impression on the lives they touch – an impression that leaves others better off and even wiser than they were before. A legend lives in accordance with their deepest beliefs, and they share those beliefs openly with others. 

You’ll find legends working where their passions, talent, and values intersect.  

And that is exactly where our first legendary woman cookbook author has thrived for decades!

Continue reading “cookbook club: king Solomon’s table”

going to Peru, part 1

let the culinary adventures begin!

Wander. Eat. Drink. Learn. Share. Enjoy. This isn’t just the tagline for this website, it’s the mantra for how I choose to live my life. It’s about learning the foodways of other cultures firsthand through local markets, street foods, and restaurants; through wandering on and off the beaten path; through conversations, art, music, dance…learning what people really hold dear and celebrating it.

In the past I’ve made these journeys alone. But the best part of any good adventure is sharing it with others. The wonder, the excitement, the new smells and flavors, and the familiar ones too! The conversations, the opportunities to open hearts and minds… that’s what this is all about.

Continue reading “going to Peru, part 1”