Nov 18, 2023

COMING OF AGE WITH COOKING: Colorful Palete by Raj Tawney and Sweetness in the Skin by Ishi Robinson

Happy Thanksgiving coming up, everyone! Enjoy!  Here are two books about the love of cooking and baking

Colorful Palate: A Flavorful Journey Through a Mixed American Experience
by Raj Tawney
Published October 3, 2023; Empire State Editions 

I loved reading about the author's growing up in the Bronx with the influence of his Puerto Rican grandmother and her tasty dishes that include an Italian recipe or two. His love of cooking multiple types of food also came from his PuertoRican-Italian mother who cooked Indian dishes at home for the family and his Indian father.

It was interesting to see how a family with three different cultural influences brought up the sons - the author and his older brother, who nevertheless grew up going their own way to develop their own American identities. The coming of age memoir is a cheerful one, with happy overtones in spite of his parents' alienation from each other. I find it notable that the couple were estranged but continued to live in the same home.

The recipes included in the book are mostly Indian recipes, delicious sounding but requiring many steps and varieties of ingredients and spices. I liked the simple Italian recipe of spaghetti and meatballs that his grandmother used to prepare.

I enjoyed reading this well written, easy to read book and would recommend it to foodies and those interested in the dynamics of multicultural families.

 Sweetness in the Skin: a Novel by Ishi Robinson

Publication: April 23, 2024; Harper

Genre: coming of age, multicultural, food, baking

I was happy to find this ARC of a coming of age book set in Jamaica, about a young girl with the ability to bake the delicious Jamaican pastries, cakes, and snacks that I remember enjoying when I was growing up on the island.

I am in the middle of reading the novel, eager to see how the 13-year-old girl living in relative poverty with a largely absent and hostile mother, how she will escape through her baking skills, and realize her dream of being with her aunt in France. It sounds far fetched, but so far, Pumkin seems to be handling obstacles, one by one, and getting closer to her dream.

Publisher description: 

 A winning debut novel about a young teenage girl in Jamaica determined to bake her way out of her dysfunctional family and into the opportunity of a lifetime. Pumkin Patterson is a thirteen-year-old girl living in a tiny two-room house in Kingston, Jamaica, with her grandmother, her Aunt Sophie (who dreams of a new life in Paris for her and Pumkin), and her distant, hostile mother Paulette (who’s rarely home).

What's on your reading schedule this week and/or the rest of the month?inly202

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso, It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday.


  1. Just started 'Darkest Hour - How Churchill Brought Us Back From the Brink' by Anthony McCarten. Next up will be 'The Travelling Cat Chronicles' by Hiro Arikawa.

  2. Your book list is interesting this week. Multi-cultural families and their foodways are intriguing.
    best, mae at

  3. Both of those books do sound quite interesting.

  4. These both sound like winners! I like books that mix growing up with food.

  5. These look like interesting recipes and I wouldn't mind trying them out this holiday season.

  6. Those both sound like good books, that might make me hungry!

  7. I like the cover of Sweetness in the Skin. Have a great weekend!

  8. Sounds like a couple of interesting books.

  9. I love that first cover! And it sounds interesting too. Have a great Thanskgiving!

  10. Interesting books today, particularly the first one. Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

  11. Both of those books look good, especially the first one, about growing up in a multicultural family. I am not much of a foodie, but still enjoy reading about a different food cuisines. Looking through your last few posts, I see a lot of books that could be used for my Wanderlust bingo.

  12. Oh that book sounds so good! Adding it to my TBR!

  13. Both books look interesting! Interesting assortment of food influences in the first book. Puerto Rican and Italian? Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  14. I enjoy books about the food experiences, and this one sounds especially interesting because it is about a family with roots in several cultures. I think I would especially like Colorful Palate: A Flavorful Journey Through a Mixed American Experience.

    I like the sound of Sweetness in the Skin, too.

  15. Sweetness in the Skin sounds interesting to me! Plus, Im intrigued by the Jamaican setting, too.

  16. Not me drooling over this post at half past midnight when I'm wide awake and hungry but should be asleep.

  17. You have a food trend this week. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Reading!

  18. You grew up on the island of Jamaica? Or am I reading that wrong? Interesting.


I appreciate your comments and thoughts...

Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month: Four Novels

For  Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month   (May),  I'm posting my book reviews by several Asian American novelists. The f...