The Immigrant Cookbook

Cover of The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes That Make America Great

The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes That Make America Great
Collected and Edited by Leyla Moushabeck
Interlink Books, 2018

North American culture, once you get past that whole unpleasant colonialism thing, had been built on welcoming newcomers and having them both become part of the greater fabric of society and in maintaining their own community and culture within the greater population. In terms of both local and country- or continent-wide foodways, immigrants and their cuisine are important to our overall development.

The Immigrant Cookbook celebrates this grand collection of peoples and cuisines as they resettle here and find a place within the greater whole. Whether it’s tacos from Mexico, Challah from Germany, or Chicken Adobo from the Philippines, once it’s made here, it becomes not just a dish to fill an empty belly, but a way to share and learn from one another.

Editor Moushabeck has compiled a vast collection of recipes from around the world, offered up by chefs, restaurateurs, television personalities, and cookbook authors. The collection covers much of the globe (well, mostly; the three references to Canada are from chefs who have immigrated here before moving to the US, and there are no recipes that are purely Canadian in origin), and offers an array of dishes, sorted by type of dish (appetizers, soups, vegetables, etc).

There are plenty of classics here; Curtis Stone of Australia offers a recipe for Pavlova, while Cathal Armstrong of Ireland has a recipe for Irish Beef Stew. Most recipes look as if they’ve been chosen for accessibility with reasonable ingredient lists and preparations that would be easy to follow by a home cook.

Usability: Could be better. Recipes include metric measurements, but fonts are small and the directions are in paragraph format with only indents to show different steps. There’s a lot of text on each page with the recipe, ingredients, chef bio, and an introductory essay by the chef. It’s hard to find dishes from specific chefs or countries without referring to the Index at the back, although chef bios are duplicated, appearing on the recipe page and in an alphabetical list at the back (and that list oddly does not include a reference to the chef’s recipe or the page where it appears). I would almost like this better if the bios included URLs to the chef’s websites so that it could at least be considered a promotional tool for the chefs and their restaurants.

Interlink will donate $5 from the sale of each book to he American Civil Liberties Union.

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