Delicious cookbooks, spicy queer romances and more!
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Hello hello from the misty hills of Kandy, Sri Lanka!

I made it out of quarantine yesterday and headed straight to our Peni Miris Cinnamon & Kandyan Clove partner farms in the heart of the country. I'm here for the week, giddy with gratitude, taking lots of photos, planning the growth of our supply chain, and eating my weight in Wambatu Moju, a sweet and sour eggplant that I've eaten 4x in 2 days now. Whilst here, I'm re-reading Funny Boy, a Sri Lankan novel about queerness, the civil war, and the journey of a young boy coming of age amidst it all. I can't recommend it enough. 

So without further ado, here's what our team has been reading to feed our minds and souls this szn. We've got spicy romances (not in a food way) and spicy cookbooks (very much in a food way) and lots more :) 

From the interwebs: 

Reading: 

  1. From our Whetstone x Diaspora collab we have three new pieces that we're so proud of - on the many lives of turmeric by Neha Sumitran, our 500+ year romance with rose petals by Meera Ganapathi and on the quiet, deeply rooted power of moringa by Smriti Daniel. 
  2. The Dal Directory by Meher Varma is a thoughtful, and delightful chronicle of five different dal recipes made by five very different Delhi residents. 
  3. An important Twitter thread on India's dependence on imported refined cooking oils. 
  4. ​ Tejal Rao's wonderful new NYT Cooking newsletter 'The Veggie' that is so perfect for how so many of us eat these days. 
  5. Whetstone editor Vidya Balachander introduced me to Farah Yameen's thoughtful, deeply observed piece on the depiction of the hand and its link to cooking and serving. It's a long read but leaves you thinking long after the last word. 

Cooking: 

  1. Hetty's Herby Tomato Salad with a Maple & Tamarind Dressing has been the soundtrack of our summer, and I'll be squeezing as many more in as I can with this last hurrah of tomato season. 
  2. Asha's Aloo Tikki Scotch Eggs are the most delicious things I've eaten... maybe this year?! 
  3. It's Massaman Curry & Butternut Squash Au Gratin szn! Both super hearty and leftover friendly recipes from Asha that I turn to again and again. FALL = NUTMEG ALL DAY, you heard it here first! 
  4. Zinara's Koththamalli, a Sri Lankan herbal tea of roasted coriander, cinnamon and ginger is that so soothing, and very much sleep inducing!

 

From the bookshelf: 

Reading: 

  1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was one of Virali (our new marketing manager!)'s first book recs to the team, and I inhaled it in one night. So good. 
  2. Tomatoes for Neela & Kalamata's Kitchen have been my go-to present for all my friends that became parents in the pandemic. This year really feels like a beautiful moment for diverse children's literature! 
  3. Dear Senthuran is an incredible (self described) Black spirit memoir from Akwaeke Emezi, probably my favorite author in the world right now. Though it's worthwhile to read their other first three books (all fiction) before you get to the memoir, only because you'll cherish it so much more this way! 
  4. I've only just begun Amitav Ghosh's latest "The Nutmeg's Curse" but it is a powerful attempt at connecting the dots of the spice trade, colonialism and climate change. 

Cooking: 

  1. As part of our Saffron Summer School, our friend Saba Parsa put together a list of her favorite Persian Cookbooks. Why yes, I did buy them all! You probs should too.  
  2. Nik Sharma's cookbooks Flavor Equation and Season are the two books that I turn to for inspiration most often. Nik's alchemy of pairing spices with beautiful produce and innovative technique is endlessly interesting to me.
  3. I recently bought Parwana, a cookbook full of Afghani home cooking meant to be shared with loved ones and community. Whilst I can't wait to cook from it, I've already loved the stories that come with each recipe. 

And finally, for the first time ever (!!!), we have a ~ Diaspora Co. ~ fall playlist for you compiled by my beloved assistant, and the admin whiz who keeps our lives and this biz glued together, Eve Javey! 

That's what we've got for now, but we'd love to hear from you as well on what you've been reading! Let us know here :)

 

I’ve been seeing a lot of pumpkin spice lattes in the wild (we're giving in to the damn thing so stayed tuned for a PSL recipe coming soon lol)! I'm only lightly throwing shade at the PSL, because if it gets people to embrace flavor and spice, who am I to judge! Jokes aside, grating a little nutmeg and dusting a little cacao onto your milky coffee? Grinding a couple cardi pods and rose petals to your beans? Adding a bit of cinnamon and honey to your cup of black tea? CAN'T LOSE.

My ideal fall six-pack for max autumnal vibes includes Iniya Cardamom, Peni Miris Cinnamon, Kandyan Cloves, Anamalai Nutmeg, Anamalai Mace, and Makhir Ginger. You can always search for recipes on our site and filter by spice, so it’s easy peasy to make all your fall food dreams a reality!

 

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Diaspora Co. 6631 Saroni Drive Oakland, California 94611