The Cuban Table: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History is a comprehensive, contemporary overview of Cuban cooking, culture and cuisine as recounted to me by serious home cooks and professional chefs, restaurateurs and food writers. Working in collaboration with award-winning photographer Ellen Silverman, we traveled through Cuba, Miami and New York to document and learn about traditional Cuban cooking from a wide range of authentic sources.
Cuban cooks are often content with a private kind of renown, demonstrating an elusive turn of hand that transforms simple recipes into bright and memorable meals that draw family and friends to their tables time and again. More than just a list of ingredients or series of steps, these tricks and touches hide in plain sight, staying within families or passed down in well-worn copies of old cookbooks largely unread outside of the Cuban community. Talking my way into countless kitchens, I took down their stories and recipes in equal measure, always grateful for how much people are willing to share when they’re sharing food.
What I found were recipes for everything from iconic Cuban sandwiches to rich stews with Spanish accents and African ingredients, accompanied by fascinating historical details and insights into our shared experiences that made me question and appreciate what had always been part of my every day. With over a 110 recipes and stunning photographs throughout, I hope this cookbook inspires you to explore one of the Caribbean’s most interesting and vibrant cuisines.
Here are some really nice things things people have had to say:
“A visually stunning book filled with vibrant food and sprinkled with warm nostalgia. Ana continues to inspire us with modern Cuban tradition.”
– Aran Goyoaga, author of Small Plates and Sweet Treats: My Family’s Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking and James Beard Award finalist for Cannelle et Vanille
“The goddess of fortune was smiling on Cuba when Ellen Silverman and Ana Sofía Peláez 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
“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, photographer, and author of Burma: Rivers of Flavor
“In The Cuban Table, Ana Sofía Peláez melds food and family, Cuba and Miami, the past and the present in such a way that one forgets the island and South Florida are separated by 90 miles of ocean. In this gem of a book, all Cubans -from here and there- sit at the same table. And what a table it is! Suffused with colors, flavors, traditions and a heaping serving of love.”
– Mirta Ojito, Pulitzer prize winning journalist and author of Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus.
“I have been following Ana Sofía Pelaez’s blog Hungry Sofia for a long time, and I can’t wait to start cooking from The Cuban Table. Cuba has been long overlooked in our cooking world, and with this book, it’s within reach for all home cooks. Ana Sofía has compiled a beautiful collection of recipes and stories. Viva Ana! Viva Cuba!”
– Leticia Moreinos-Schwartz, author My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook and The Brazilian Cookbook
“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
“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
“Ana Sofía 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
“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.”
“[A] heartfelt tribute to Cuban Cuisine…Cooks will want to add this immersive and inspirational book to their collection.”
“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.”
“[The Cuban Table]…is a wistful tribute to a country frozen in time.”
“This book has a place in every kitchen.”
—The Miami Herald
“In her book, Pelaez traces such flavor notes to the island and its living mosaic of a vibrant people pressing forth amid relics…”
“Come to The Cuban Table for the food and stay for the stories.”
“What emerges from the stories behind those recipes (often copied from tattered cookbooks carried from Cuba as families fled) is a portrait of an inventive, resourceful people”
“This book transports you to the island with everything from appetizers, snacks, mains, desserts and the ever-famous Cuban bar. It is the all in one book of Cuban cookery.”
“Packed with gorgeous photographs and history, the book is a vivid and exciting portrait of the Cuban table today.”
“Known in the blogosphere as Hungry Sofia, Ana Sofia Peláez gets to the heart of Cuban cooking and shares some beloved favorites like ropa vieja and escabeche.
“…the book is an evocative look at what food means in Cuba, how it’s served and beloved.”
“It is a rich and many-layered book, one of those cookbooks you want to read in bed.”
“Ana Sofía Peláez manages to expand the Cuban culinary canon.”
“The world of Cuban cuisine, which happens to be a vital part of the American food story, is often underrepresented and misunderstood, so we’re thrilled that one of our favorite Cuban-American writers, Ana Sofia Pelaez, is tackling the subject…”
Excerpts and recipes from The Cuban Table have been featured in Sweet Paul Magazine (Sept/Nov) and Latina Magazine (Dec/Jan).
For Cuban Table talk, jump to these links…
Book & Books – Coral Gables with the Cuban Heritage Collection
265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, FL
December 11 – 7pm
Miami Book Fair International
Presentation, Q&A, & Book-signing
300 N.E. Second Avenue, Miami, FL
November 22 or 23