The Marianas include Guam, Rota, Tinian, and Saipan; all lie well east of the Philippines. This handsome and detailed book is the most complete we have seen on the food of the islands. We owe our familiarity with it to the enthusiastic recommendation of legendary cookbook collector Dalia Carmel-Goldstein, whose approval may be all that some people need to hear about CHamoru Cuisine.
Guam-born Gerard and Mary Aflague have subtitled their book “a cultural legacy,” and it’s clear that they worked hard to preserve and record the distinctive culinary history of the islands. There are maps of the major islands, a history of the CHamoru people, descriptions of traditional architecture, and a recounting of food preparation methods and rites.
The recipe sections are broken up by discussion of indigenous and locally important ingredients, from tubers to fruits, that demonstrate many layers of culinary influence coming in from Southeast Asian, China, and beyond, including Europe and the United States. Recipe names are provided in English and CHamoru; there is an extensive glossary of both ingredients and cooking terms, and even a seasonality calendar.
Color photographs throughout the book present the food in an appealing fashion, as well as showcase the islands’ natural beauty. Without a doubt a thorough, passionate, and appealing guide.
Hardcover. 424 pages.
CHamoru is the spelling that speakers of the language largely prefer over the older Chamorro, which has associations with colonialism.