"A Taste of Guam" by Paula A Lujan Quinene (Cookbook Review)
I was given the amazing opportunity to review Paula A. Lujan Quinene's cookbook, "A Taste of Guam". I am always willing to try something new and being unfamiliar with cuisine from Guam, I had to do it!
A little synopsis about the book and it's author, from her website www.paulaq.com:
"A Taste of Guam.....sharing Chamorro culture through food. This book includes the author's collection of recipes: Chamorro BBQ, Other Island Favorites, Guam Desserts, Mix of America, and a Treasure Chest of Sweets. A Taste of Guam has the best recipe for guyuria (fried cookies dusted with sugar syrup, roskette (cornstarch cookies) and latiya (pound cake with custard and cinnamon). Paula spent countless hours measuring the ingredients and testing the recipes! This is one island girl sharing ALL HER RECIPE secrets! This Guam cookbook is a must have for those in need of great Chamorro recipes that actually work! You'll also find an islander's list of places to eat on Guam, a list of the village fiestas, and a short time-line of Guam's history."
The cookbook was very easy to follow and seemed to share Paula Quinene's personality and personal history with each recipe. She broke down each recipe in to sets, in order as needed. Which I found to be a huge help and made organizing very easy. She was great about explaining the cooking process. Also, she even made sure to explain how certain dishes are pronounced. For example, Buchi Buchi pronounced "bu-chee bu-chee). I also love that she included places to stop at in Guam if you were to ever visit, a short history of Guam, major Fiestas of their culture,
However, I felt that since the recipes are unique to other cultures there needed to be an explanation as to what certain ingredients are or even an acceptable substitute. For example, The recipe for "Ahu" called for Ahu meat. I googled it and couldn't find anything other then other recipes for "Ahu" and none of them mentioned Ahu meat, instead there were references for coconut meat. The other suggestion I have is how many servings the recipes make. Not a single recipe mentioned the servings (i.e. maybe it serves 4 or 8?). I understand that it must be difficult to come up with the amount as these are recipes in which are normally eyeballed and the author went through and remade the recipes and measured so that she may be able to write the cookbook. Since I had no idea what the serving sizes were, I had no idea how much to reduce everything by to cook for a smaller group. My pot of red rice was enough to feed an army.
With those few suggestions aside, I don't want anybody to be turned off of the book. It's a GREAT cookbook with unique recipes that will make for a fun night of Chamorro food. I made the "Red Rice" and it was DELICIOUS! I made "Fina'Dinne" which is a traditional sauce served with BBQ, egg rolls, white rice, etc., this is more of a taste preference but I didn't care for it. I might try it again but reduce the amount of vinegar. My neighbor had some and LOVED it. Once again, that is a taste preference. I made the Crab Kelaguen. Yum. I read the recipe, thought it weird but wanted to try it. Holy cow was it fabulous! I just ate it on it's own. So delicious. I lastly made Estufao. Oh my goodness. Delicious. If you like Filipino Adobo, you will LOVE Estufao. Fabulous. I am definitely going to try some of the recipes, especially the Chicken Kelaguan and some of the desserts. I am going to play around with trying to cut down the red rice until I get it to a smaller size without losing all of it's fabulous flavor.
I think Paula Lujan Quinene definitely has a market for this book and I have suggested it to other friends of mine who love to try different cuisines!
Enjoy my photos of the meal I cooked from "A Taste of Guam"
Not completely "red" red rice and Estufao