When you're starting your library, your cookbook library that is, it can be hard to know where to start. We're here to help, with a new series on our favorite cookbooks. Some old, some new, all delicious. Today, we're focusing on Puerto Rican cookbooks. Cookbooks are a great place to turn to (re)familiarize yourself with classic dishes or to get find new interpretations of dishes you know so well. They're also a great way to connect with home. Whether you're just getting to know Puerto Rico or have a long relationship with the vibrant and mesmerizing island, these cookbooks will help you on your journey. And check out our last installment, classic Cuban cookbooks!
If you only buy one cookbook ever again (don’t do that, buy a lot of cookbooks), buy this one. Cocina Criolla is in its 68th printing (in Spanish and 36th in English, Puerto Rican Cookery) and it’s easy to see why. Written by expert Carmen Aboy Valldejuli, the cookbook is the standard reference book for classic Puerto Rican dishes. There are hundreds of traditional recipes (the way your mom used to make them) and tips on how to read recipes and how to stock your kitchen.
One of Puerto Rico’s most known celebrity chefs, Wilo Benet, takes on updating classic recipes in his book Puerto Rico: True Flavors. He covers the classics, we’re talking alcapurrias, pinon, and pernil (and more!), but also offers tips and tricks for the modern cook, a photo-heavy how-to section, an ingredient glossary, and more.
We’re stocking our library with books written by stars of the island, including this one by Jose Santaella and a forward by Eric Ripert. The book is split into intuitive sections like Para Picar, Primer Plato, Platos Principales, and Postres. And the recipes cover the classics but venture out into new dishes inspired by the island like blood sausage spring rolls and cilantro deviled eggs.
This cookbook isn’t technically only Puerto Rican but it is written by Puerto Rican chef Diasy Martinez. We love Daisy and this book because of her style and relaxed sense of entertaining. It’s about la familia, la musica, and of course, la comida. She perfectly captures the feeling of la isla and the food is pretty good too.