Diaz grew up shuttled between Puerto Rico and Atlanta, and her appreciation for both cultures and their rich culinary histories is showcased in this delightful collection of Puerto Rican comfort food recipes. . . . Purists may scoff at some of her choices (the rum cake, for example, calls for instant pudding mix), but Diaz argues that it’s much more important to remember the people and settings of memorable meals rather than obsess about absolute authenticity. . . . The recipes are solid and imaginative, but it’s Diaz’s gift for storytelling that shines
Provocative. . . . The recipes aren’t strictly Puerto Rican and they aren’t strictly Southern--they’re Diaz’s own, based on her personal food history and her love of both cuisines.
Coconuts and Collards is about the complex blend of history and agriculture that have shaped the island’s food and how Diaz found a way to blend two distinct cultures in a way that felt true to her own life.
In a hypothetical venn diagram of Puerto Rican and American South cuisines, Diaz fills the overlap with adobo-marinated fried chicken and coconut milk grits. The book is at once a memoir, an ode to the inspiring women in her family and a resource for highly original recipes.
It’s too simple to call Diaz’s dishes fusion food. What emerges through these recipes is something greater than the sum of its two cooking cultures--the mainland South and the United States’ island South.
--Garden & Gun
Offers lighter, more vegetable-forward takes on Puerto Rican classics, as well as some clever hybrids of Diaz’s different worlds.
--NPR, The Salt
A clear-eyed, achingly tender confession of how food can hurt, and how it can heal. . . . Coconuts & Collards is every bit as poignant as it is appetizing: a testament to how change and upheaval can force us to grow even deeper roots.
--Atlanta Journal Constitution
Coconuts and Collards is more than a cookbook, it is a memoir and also love letter to the place and people that have nurtured Díaz’s palate and passion for life. It is a story of discovery and self realization that uplifts through food--both the familiar and creative re-imaginings of it.
Put[s] a modern spin on Puerto Rican cooking theory. Diaz may not be a trained chef or have a direct connection to a restaurant, but she has the voice to bring American-Puerto Rican cookery, as it exists today, into a broader consciousness.
Part cookbook, part memoir, [Coconuts and Collards] shares recipes from author Von Diaz’s heritage, as well as memories of growing up in Puerto Rico and the American South.
--New York Magazine