Friday, March 02, 2007

An interesting press release

Here's a book I'd like to read:


A collection of short stories entitled A La Carte
Food & Fiction was launched last February 12, 2007 at
The Podium, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.
Sponsored by the National Bookstore at the Podium and
the book’s publisher Anvil, the event drew over a
hundred guests. The contributors who were present and
who participated in a reading of their stories were:
Dean Frances Alfar, Jose Dalisay, Jr., Margarita
Marfori, Corinna Arcellana Nuqui, Nadine Sarreal,
Janet Villa, and Marie Aubrey Villaceran. Cecilia
Manguerra Brainard, one of the editors of the book,
was also present.

A La Carte is a combination of 25 stories and recipes
that reveals Filipino culture in a unique way, with
each story introduced by a recipe. The book is like a
menu, with categories of Breads, Appetizers, Salads,
Soup, Rice, Main Dishes, and Dessert – with recipes
and stories falling under the appropriate sections.
collection of 25 short stories and accompanying
Filipino recipes.

The recipes included in the book are: Aragula in Blue
Cheese Sauce; Shrimps on Leeks; Tokwa’t Baboy; Banana
Turon; Pan de Sal; Ensaymada; Green Mango Relish;
Feta Cheese with Greens, Artichokes, and Crabfat;
Shanghai Fried Rice; Garlic Fried Rice; Pork Adobo;
Manok Inasal; Paella/Arroz; Kare-Kare; Lumpia, Laing,
Sinanglay na Karpa; Pork Sinigang; Filipino-Korean
Lumpia; Rellenong Bangus; Humba; Escabeche;
Binagoongang Baboy; Cascaron; and Halo-Halo.
The twenty-five Filipino contributors come from the
Philippines, America, the Philippines, Singapore,
Australia, France, and Germany. They are: Dean
Frances Alfar, Irwin Cabucos, Ian Rosales Casocot,
Shirley Mae Mamaril Choe, Carlos Cortes, Erma Cuizon,
Jose Dalisay, Jr., Susan Evangelista, Ma. Rowina
Gonzalez, Margarita Marfori, Reine Arcache Melvin,
Veronica Montes, Corinna Arcellana Nuqui, Oscar
Penaranda, Edgar Poma, Brian Ascalon Roley, Nadine
Sarreal, Joel Barraquiel Tan, Linda Ty-Casper, Marie
Aubrey Villaceran, Janet B. Villa, Edna Weisser, and
Alfred Yuson. Co-editors Cecilia Brainard and Marily
Orosa also have stories in the collection.
The editors of A La Carte are familiar figures in the
Philippine literary scene. Cecilia Manguerra Brainard
is the award-winning author and editor of over a dozen
books. Marily Orosa is president of Studio 5 one of
the leading graphic firms in the Philippines and
publisher of award-winning coffee table books.
Brainard and Orosa co-edited an earlier book entitled
Behind the Walls: Life of Convent Girls, published by
Anvil in 2004.

The stories in A La Carte are a mixed bag of joyful
stories as well as more somber ones; all of them
explore the dynamics of human relationships. Isagani
Cruz, of Philippine Star, writes: "Here is a book
guaranteed to satisfy even the most discriminating
taste, but also to make readers hungry for more
stories, characters, insights, and recipes. Fact,
fiction, fantasy, and food mix in a feast for the
mind, the heart, the palate, and the soul. There are
many well-known writers in the anthology, but it is
not so much who writes as what is written that makes
this book a must-read, just as it is not so much the
chef or the cook that makes a recipe to die for, but
the dish itself. Enjoy the 25-course banquet."
Culinary heritage advocate and writer, Felice Prudente
Sta. Maria writes, "A menu of stories to suit your
every craving! That’s A la Carte: Food & Fiction. This
book fills a hunger in Philippine literature for
fantasy, hyper-reality, romance, mystery … but with a
good measure of culinary flavoring mixed in."
The book, A La Carte Food & Fiction, is available in
the Philippines from Anvil (
and National Bookstores. In the U.S. it is available
from PALH (


Another bit of news I'm happy to read about:

Salamanca, by Dean Francis Alfar is now available from

I did an interview with Dean Alfar while I was in the Philippines and I wrote a column on that interview which was published on The Sword Review.

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