In a hurried world, there’s nothing quite like sitting around the table after a meal, letting the discussion meander from buzzing gossip to lively debates. For Argentinians, it’s more than a casual way to avoid doing the dishes; it’s a cultural staple called sobremesa. Author Josephine Camino Orìa sums it up gracefully in the introduction of her new book of the same name: “Sobremesa was how I learned to make sense of the world—the good, lo malo, the beautiful, lo feo, the unexpected, lo esperado. Sobremesa wasn’t reserved for holidays or weekends; it happened every day of the week.” Read more…
Foreword This Week
June 3, 2021
Reviewer Kristine Morris Interviews Josephine Caminos Oria, Author of Sobremesa: A Memoir of Food and Love in Thirteen Courses—Part Two
Okay, ladies, top up your coffee cups and then let’s resume your conversation from last week.
Josephine, we especially look forward to hearing about how your ancestors and spirit guides interact with you and influence your life.
Los platos pueden esperar… es algo que Josephine Caminos Oria, autora de libros incluyendo Dulce de leche y el recién estrenado Sobremesa (https://amzn.to/3yZ6bKy), comparte con nosotros explicando que no tenemos que correr a lavarlos sino disfrutar de los momentos y la compañía. También nos dice que debemos estar atentos y abiertos a los cambios y oportunidades ya que muchas veces, la solución al problema más grande de tu negocio lo va a llevar a otro lugar y a otro nivel. La fundadora de La Dorita Cooks, la primera incubadora de empresas de gastronomía en Pittsburg, menciona que somos mucho más fuertes de lo que creemos y que, muchas veces lo que no sabemos y vamos aprendiendo de “a poco” nos permite llegar mucho más lejos. Ella abrió su cocina industrial con la idea de compartir y devolver a la comunidad y recomienda, el emprender a la par que mantienes tu trabajo para poder ir avanzando hasta el punto que el plan B se convierta en el plan Absoluto. La argentina en Estados Unidos y madre de cinco, nos recuerda que puedes ser independiente, mantener a tu familia y disfrutar de los momentos compartidos. Para ella, los olores y sabores se quedan con nosotros. Listen in here…
If you ask Latinas where their favorite empanadas come from, the answers will probably vary. Some might say Colombia, while others might mention Puerto Rican empanadas. While most Latin American countries have their own iteration of this beloved crescent-shaped pastry, Argentina has one of the most recognizable and delicious empanadas of them all. These empanadas are usually jammed pack with mouthwatering fillings such as ground beef, spinach, cheese, and more. For Josephine Caminos Oría, the Argentine-American cookbook author of Sobremesa: A Memoir of Food and Love in Thirteen Course, empanadas were always a big part of her childhood. Her grandma’s infamous recipe, like many Argentine empanadas, called for raisins as an ingredient, something the Latina was never fond of. “I spent most of my childhood avoiding Dorita’s evil stare as I picked them out, one by one, from each empanada that crossed my path,” she shared in her latest memoir. While Josephine still detests raisins in her empanada to this day (definitely not up for discussion), she is reconnecting to her roots by recreating her own version of empanadas — Empanadas al Cuchillo. Read more here…
We sometimes think of our reviewers as explorers—this is your assignment, scribe, if you choose to accept it—venturing off into the uncharted stories and ideas of new books, logging details as the pages slip by, then posting an official communiqué in the form of a review.
Not that it’s dangerous, but on rare occasions the experience is life altering. The ever intrepid Kristine Morris just returned from such a place, where she encountered the Peruvian notion of sobremesa under the guidance of Josephine Oria. Sobre what? you say, just like we did—but here’s where we step away and let Kristine engage Josephine in an extraordinary discussion.
As you’ll see, they got along so well that we decided to break their conversation into two parts, with the second installment coming next Thursday. Read on here.
On today’s episode, host Roger Anderson welcomes Josephine Caminos Oría, author and founder of La Dorita Cooks, to talk about her new book “Sobremesa: A Memoir of Food and Love in Thirteen Courses.” Josephine talks about her Argentine-American upbringing, sharing stories around the family table, passing recipes through the generations (culinary time travel), and some of her favorite Argentine recipes. Listen here for the whole episode, then check out this link for recipes and where to find a copy of Sobremesa starting May 4th.
Empanada drop at La Dorita Cooks this upcoming Wednesday, March 10. Get your order in here before they sell out!
“What’s for dinner, Mom? ¿Que vamos a cenar?” Is there any question more hated by moms than this? In a house with six children constantly calling this out to you on a seemingly well-timed rotation from the minute they walk through the front door? As if you have nothing else to do with your day. Those five words are undoubtedly a setup for most any home cook. There is no right answer given most everyday meals don’t come with a hundred percent approval rating. Growing up, on day’s my mom found herself unprepared and had clearly had enough—God bless her—she narrowed her response to the following: “Caca.” That was a telltale sign to stop where you are, shut your mouth, back up slowly and steer clear until dinnertime or summoned. Unless your hormones had you feeling extra sassy that day and you dared ask—“Just asking, Mom, but will that sh** come on a stick or will it be neatly tucked away and baked into a golden-crusted tarta?”
Not all tarta is created equally. Argentines will put just about anything between two pie crusts and call it a day: butternut squash and ricotta, ham and cheese with morrones, eggs, corn or tuna. Name any ingredient and there’s probably a layered tarta it calls home. But Argentina’s Eastertime tart, tarta pascualina, is the crowned queen among them. Traditionally eaten during Lent and Easter, this savory pie is immensely popular in Argentina and eaten year-round, despite its moniker. From her envious filling—sautéed swiss chard, onion, ricotta, pâté de foie and hardboiled-eggs—to her double-decker flakey pie crusts, she’s la Madre María de tartas. Our Mother Mary of savory pies. A testament to how the simplest of ingredients can be combined to create the most unforgettable first bite—one that can fortify you with the strength to rise up, dust off your pants and move on.
My abuela Dorita’s tarta pascualina was inches thick and, true to our family’s carnivorous nature, contained just a touch of pâté de foie to ground its earthy parts and add a depth of flavor. Chalk full of onions, swiss chard and—after a stint in the oven—eggs that hard boil and bake right into the pie, it was comfort food par excellence. Tarta Pascualina is likened to Argentina’s resurrection pie—its “Eastertime Tart.” Italian immigrants who voyaged to South America to gamble on a new life brought the recipe for this tasty and filling pie. Its origins lie specifically in the region of Liguria, Italy, where the dish can be traced back to the sixteenth century.The traditional recipe calls for thirty-three layers of phyllo pastry, representing the number of years of Christ’s life—Argentina’s mythical first Lady, Evita’s, too. Like Jesus, Evita was just thirty-three when she sat down to her last supper, but fifty-some years later, her presence still lives on.
If you’d like to treat your loved ones to a Lent-friendly, meatless version of Abuela Dorita’s tarta pascualinarecipe this Lent, I promise you won’t be disappointed, especially if quarantining has you down in the dumps and the only place you can go is up. You can get this recipe, among many more, today! Simply pre-order my culinary memoir, Sobremesa: A Memoir of Food and Love in Thirteen Courses HERE, and we’ll send you a complimentary Advance Reader Copy today, along with a digital copy of the recipe. You’ll then receive the final hard copy of Sobremesa in May, just in time for Mother’s Day. Simply send a copy of your receipt and address to this email with “Preorder and ARC” in the subject line. (While supplies last.)
Let me know if you give this recipe a try. I’d love to hear from you. Just email me. I’d also love to hear if you bought the book and what you think. Your support means the world to me!