There once was a boy named Samuelsson
Who was happy and well-fed in Sweden.
But his African origins
Knocked on his door again (and again)
Until one day he went there to find them.
Marcus Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia. But when he was three, his mother died of tuberculosis, and he was sent to a pair of adoptive parents in Sweden. Things were good. For one thing, Samuelsson's grandmother had mad-Swedish kitchen skills. In no time he was jammin' with the jams.
And displaying obvious culinary talent. So off he went to cooking school. And after stints behind the stove in Switzerland, France, and Austria, he landed in New York, cheffing at Aquavit. He even wrote the restaurant cookbook of the same name. Not too shabby, huh?
Even better for Samuelsson, in New York he connected with the African community—Moroccan soccer players, West African dishwashers, and Ethiopian restauranteurs. From there it was back to the Motherland, where Samuelsson was instantly taken with the importance of food, and cooking, to daily African life.
Almost a decade later, we have The Soul of a New Cuisine, Samuelsson's gorgeous and very personal cookbook that explores the many flavors of Africa's many cuisines. Organized into regions, Samuelsson gives us both classic recipes for African staples (berbere, chermoula, harissa) and his ideas for a new cuisine inspired by African ingredients and tastes. Infusing the book is his obviously soulful connection with the land of his birth—his love of the people and cultures there.
Our favorite sections: 1) Spice Blends and 2) Condiments, Sauces, and Dips. We're thinking beet-ginger chutney would go great with roasted turkey. And we might just pile some rum-pickled chiles on top of a fried fish sandwich. Of course, we know you can figure our your own use for his exotic, hint-of-spice-and-sweetness mango sambal recipe.
It's a love letter from
his soul to yours.