On the Shelf

The Immigrant Cookbook

Recipes That Make America Great

By Leyla Moushabeck

Chipotles, charmoula, and chop suey. Moussaka, frittedda, and Pavlova. We have immigrants to thank for the evolution of our deliciously diverse palates. Leyla Moushabeck’s The Immigrant Cookbook is a melting pot of cultural influences, family recipes, and sacred traditions. Most of us have grown accustomed to indulging our tastes for the different and the exotic when we dine out at restaurants.

This cookbook provides the necessary instruction to help us make colorful, aromatic dishes such as Mughlai Fish Curry of Pakistan, Lamb Fatteh of Lebanon, and Island Slaw from Haiti, in our own home kitchens.

Beautiful photographs capture the colors of the food vividly, and chef bios tell each unique story. Moushabeck’s collection celebrates people, history, and heritage—things that truly make America great. Recipes from The Immigrant Cookbook both satiate and educate, tastefully reminding us that immigrants have changed the way Americans eat for the better.

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The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen

By Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley

This 2018 James Beard Award-winning book explores indigenous fruits and vegetables, wild and foraged ingredients, game, and fish. Chef Sherman eliminates outdated ideas of North American fare (no “Indian tacos” nor European staples, such as wheat flour, dairy products, sugar, pork, and beef). Through rich education, elegant photographs, and simple recipes, the book presents healthy recipes using seasonal ingredients of modern indigenous cuisines in the Dakota and Minnesota regions, such as venison, rabbit, duck, quail, wild turkey, tamarack, cedar, and juniper.

The Indigenous Pantry section toward the back of the book offers a list of basic staples that can easily be found at your local grocer or farmers market for authentic cooking in a modern age. The final “Feasts of the Moon” chapter is a beautiful nod to the harmony of indigenous cultures and traditions with nature’s cycle.

“We, the First Nation descendants, are living proof of courage and resilience,” Sherman writes. “We offer our work to the next generation so that they may carry the flame of knowledge and keep alive our traditions, our foods, and our medicines for generations to come.”

Hawker Fare

Stories & Recipes from a Refugee Chef’s Isan Thai & Lao Roots

By James Syhabout

“In the States, we feel like we know Thailand,” writes chef James Syhabout in the new cookbook Hawker Fare. “But Laos . . . it’s a mystery.” In Syhabout’s book, Lao Isan cuisine is also fascinating, unexpected, unfamiliar, and delicious.

Syhabout is the classically-trained chef of Commis, with two Michelin Stars, and a refugee, born in Thailand’s Isan region. He grew up poor in Oakland’s Lao Isan immigrant community with parents who struggled to run a Thai restaurant. In his later teens, trips to Laos and Isan helped him to understand his roots. His personal story takes up the first third of the book and is integral to the recipes that follow.

The recipes aren’t complicated, and few of the ingredients are farther away than a local Asian market. But as Syhabout notes, the real challenge for some may be the unaccustomed flavors of Lao Isan food, which leans heavily on bitter, spicy, and funky. For the moderately adventurous, though, Hawker Fare abounds in eye-opening recipes, such as noodle soups khao soi Lao and mee ka tee, rice salad nam khao tod, and fermented Lao sausage sai gok.