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This is another book I found in that used bookstore a few weeks back when I was super sad and mad and stuff. Grabbed Flora’s Kitchen because it looked like a mix of personal history and recipes, which is cool.
I enjoyed reading this book. You learn about the writer’s paternal grandmother’s relationship with food and her influence on the family at large. It felt very relevant to two other books I’ve read recently–Crying in H Mart and We Are What We Eat–because the text itself is built around both lineage and nature. So like Regina Romero has these great memories of her grandmother’s food, like eating red chile enchiladas on a summer day in a cool side room of the house. But she also gives the logical reasons for why they had jello in the winter (because it was easier to store in a frozen rain barrel). She has a whole section about chiles on how and when to pick them and how and why to preserve them. Insistence on what’s available at the time or in that location is central to these recipes. This is conscious eating.
Flora’s Kitchen isn’t just about food either. Romero is also documenting her familial background. Who moved where, who married who, which kid went where. It’s a sweet book.
Best line: “This is not so much a recipe as a whim. If you have flour tortillas and cheese in your kitchen, you can make quesadillas” (Romero 22).