From Coconuts and Collards to Masala Farm, here’s what we’re reading.

By Justin Chapple
June 23, 2020
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This story is part of "Queer As Food," a series that explores the role of food in LGBTQ+ communities.

During Pride month, there are endless ways to support the queer community. You can donate or volunteer with LGBTQ+ nonprofits, spread awareness by marching in a parade (virtually, this year), or simply support queer-owned businesses. But, you can also buy books penned by queer authors. In addition to food magazines and TV shows, the publishing industry as a whole underrepresents LGBTQ+ authors, but, even more so, it vastly underrepresents queer people of color. Since cookbooks, cocktail guides, and food memoirs are an essential tool for sharing history, experience, and perspective, what better way to celebrate LGBTQ+ authors of color than by reading their stories and cooking their recipes? Here are some of our favorites.

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Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One

Author: Anita Lo

Publisher: Knopf, 2018

Order here: Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One, $18 at amazon.com

In Solo, Anita Lo (Food & Wine Best New Chef 2001) proves that cooking for one is the ultimate act of self-care. Her nourishing, practical, home-cook-friendly dishes are as delicious as they are inspired.

A Simple Feast: A Year of Stories and Recipes to Savor and Share

Author: Diana Yen

Publisher: Roost Books, 2014

Order here: A Simple Feast, $16 at amazon.com 

Through an undeniably beautiful lens, Diana Yen shares simple and elegant recipes that are organized by life moments, like snow days, tea parties, and apple picking. The recipes in A Simple Feast are elevated versions of classic American dishes that couldn’t be more gorgeous or approachable.

Chicano Eats: Recipes from My Mexican-American Kitchen

Author: Esteban Castillo

Publisher: Harper Design, June 2020

Order here: Chicano Eats, $30 at amazon.com 

Esteban Castillo, creator of the popular blog, Chicano Eats, has written a cookbook by the same name. Scheduled to release on June 30, 2020, this playful and colorful cookbook showcases outstanding recipes that are fundamentally both Mexican and American.

Kristen Kish Cooking: Recipes and Techniques: A Cookbook

Authors: Kristen Kish with Meredith Erickson

Publisher: Clarkson Potter, 2017

Order here: Kristen Kish Cooking, $22 at amazon.com 

In her stunning first book, Kristen Kish (winner of season ten of Top Chef), shares recipes that not only nod to her Midwestern upbringing but showcase her impeccable skills as a fine dining chef.

Son of a Southern Chef: Cook with Soul

Author: Lazarus Lynch

Publisher: Avery, 2019

Order here: Son of a Southern Chef, $20 at amazon.com

Lazarus Lynch’s Son of a Southern Chef is unlike any cookbook on Southern cuisine. Lynch’s vibrant personality and style is shared through gorgeous photography, joyful stories, and delicious recipes that are a nod to his Alabama-born father and Guyanese mother.

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South

Author: Michael Twitty

Publisher: Amistad, 2018

Order here: The Cooking Gene, $20 at amazon.com

In this memoir, Michael Twitty—culinary historian and creator of the blog Afroculinaria—takes us across three centuries of his ancestral culinary history and the politics surrounding the origins of Southern cuisine. Twitty confronts the ongoing struggle over race by examining the history and connection of slavery and food. The Cooking Gene was the 2018 winner of the James Beard Foundation’s Book of the Year and Best Food Writing awards. Fascinating and enlightening, The Cooking Gene belongs on every shelf and deserves to be reread time and time again.

Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food

Author: Nik Sharma

Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2018

Order here: Season, $22 at amazon.com

The passion and love that Nik Sharma has for food, cooking, and photography shines in his first book, Season. Sharma’s recipes combine familiar American ingredients and bold spices of Indian cuisine, creating dishes that are exciting but not intimidating.

The Sweet Spot: Asian-Inspired Desserts

Authors: Pichet Ong with Genevieve Ko

Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks, 2007

Order here: The Sweet Spot, $7 at amazon.com

In The Sweet Spot, Pichet Ong showcases the techniques and vibrant flavors of Asia in both traditional Asian desserts and American classics. As far dessert cookbooks go, The Sweet Spot bridges the East and West like no other.

The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook: Indian Spice, Oakland Soul

Authors: Preeti Mistry with Sarah Henry

Publisher: Running Press Adult, 2017

Order here: The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook, $11 at amazon.com

In her first cookbook, Preeti Mistry—chef and owner of Juhu Beach Club in Oakland, CA—shares recipes that are as eclectic and energetic as her. Mistry merges cuisines from all over India with American influences to create recipes that will knock your socks off. Throughout the book, Mistry also reflects on her career with notes and super-engaging stories.

Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails

Authors: Shannon Mustipher

Publisher: Rizzoli, 2019

Order here: Tiki, $27 at amazon.com

In Tiki, Shannon Mustipher reintroduces the tiki cocktail to the world through a modern, sophisticated lens. Mustipher’s knowledge and expertise comes through in every recipe and note, making this book an incredible resource for any tiki fan. You will love this book as much as the cocktails you make from it.

Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country

Authors: Suvir Saran with Raquel Pelzel and Charlie Burd

Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2011

Order here: Masala Farm, $12 at amazon.com

Using Indian techniques and flavors, Suvir Saran documents life on the upstate New York farm he shares with his partner, Charlie Burd (who co-authored the book along with Raquel Pelzel). Unlike his first two books, Indian Home Cooking and American Masala, Saran’s recipes in Masala Farm are inspired by farmhouse cuisine.

Coconuts and Collards: Recipes and Stories from Puerto Rico to the Deep South

Author: Von Diaz

Publisher: University Press of Florida, 2018

Order here: Coconuts and Collards, $19 at amazon.com

In Coconuts and Collards, Von Diaz shares her deeply personal story of family and food, resulting in one of the best-ever memoirs with recipes. Through her recipes, Diaz celebrates a cuisine that is not strictly Puerto Rican or Southern, but one that reflects her family’s history and their love for both cuisines.

Zoe's Ghana Kitchen: Traditional Ghanaian Recipes Remixed for the Modern Kitchen

Author: Zoe Adjonyoh

Publisher: Mitchell Beazley, 2017

Order here: Zoe's Ghana Kitchen, $11 at amazon.com

In Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, chef Zoe Adjonyoh showcases contemporary African recipes that celebrate her story of having a Ghanaian father and Irish mother. The easy, adaptable recipes are exciting and unique. Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen is an outstanding introduction to a cuisine that deserves greater exposure.