Kitchens are the heart of the home.
In Maria Gutierrez's family, kitchens are where traditions are created and shared, the conversation and storytelling are lively, and tiny demonstrations of love are served daily. In Las Abuelas, she has penned a love letter to her mother and a tribute to the women on both sides of her family who instilled a deep appreciation for food and story that is passed down from generation to generation.
"I was raised in a Mexican American cultural community, with influences from the Deep South on my mom's side," Gutierrez says. "Las Abuelas was written to explore the intersection of being raised by four grandmas of a mixed cultural lineage. In digging into my family's history, I found myself asking: What was shared and what was held back? What are the traditional meals passed down? What are the stories about who we are and where we came from? What lessons and recipes can I pass down to my daughters?"
Through retellings of family lore and captivating glimpses into the kitchens of her formidable forebears, Gutierrez maps her female ancestors through their recipes. "This is how my family gives love to one another: through bread, empanadas, tamales, fried chicken, and lemon meringue pies," she observes. Generously, Gutierrez offers not only tantalizing descriptions of these beloved family dishes, but shares the recipes for them as well.
In detail-rich prose and poetry, Gutierrez offers a feast that nourishes heart, soul and stomach, capturing her family's legacy of strong women and mouthwatering meals. Readers will come away feeling the fullness of love and hungry for a home-cooked meal.