Sofrito by Phillippe DiederichSofrito by Phillippe Diederich

Sofrito

byPhillippe Diederich

Paperback | September 4, 2015

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In this entertaining debut novel, Frank Delgado tries to save his failing restaurant by returning to Cuba, his dead father's homeland, to get ahold of a top-secret chicken recipe. But there is more than delicious chicken at stake here. Food is the road home - geographically, emotionally, metaphorically. Peppered with cooking advice from chefs, ordinary folks, and celebrities including Fidel Castro himself (an advocate of pork), Phillipe Diederich's Sofrito is a love letter to the deepest recesses of nostalgia's heart."Cristina Garcia, author of Dreaming in Cuban and King of CubaFrank Delgado is no thief. He co-owns a failing Cuban restaurant in Manhattan's Upper East Side. The restaurant, like Frank, is rudderless. Lost. He decides he'll save the restaurant by traveling to Cuba to steal the legendary chicken recipe from the famed El Ajillo restaurant in Havana. The recipe is a state secret, so prized that no cook knows the whole recipe. But Frank's rationale is ironclad - Fidel stole the secret from his family, so he will steal it back. He will triumphantly bring that recipe back to Manhattan and turn his fortunes around.Frank has no interest in Cuba. His parents fled after the Revolution. His dead father spent his life erasing all traces of Cuba from his heart with barbeques, television, lawn mowing and alcohol. So Frank is not prepared for the real Cuba. Sure, he gets beat up and almost killed, the secret service threatens him, but in the midst of the chaos, he falls in love with a prostitute and the city, and he unwraps the heroic story of his parents' life. Cuba begins to bind Frank together, the way a good sofrito binds the flavors of a Cuban dish.Phillippe Diederich is a Haitian American writer and photojournalist raised in Mexico City and Miami, Florida. The dictator Papa Doc kicked his parents out of Haiti in the 1960s. Phillippe grew up listening to stories of nostalgia, revolution, and exile. His friends were the sons and daughters of parents who had fled oppressive regimes throughout Latin America. "
Phillippe Diederich is a Haitian-American writer. Born in the Dominican Republic, he was raised in Mexico City and Miami. His parents were kicked out of Haiti by the dictatorship of Papa Doc Duvalier in 1963. He spent his youth listening to his parents and friends talking politics and nostalgically dreaming of the day they would return...
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Title:SofritoFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.46 inPublished:September 4, 2015Publisher:Cinco Puntos PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1941026141

ISBN - 13:9781941026144

Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from "Pretty Woman" Mixed With "Chef" My major issue with this book was the romantic subplot: I found Frank and Marisol's relationship cliché and suuuper rushed (I don't know if anyone can truly fall in love with someone in two days). I also found the characters all very similar (the word "coño" was used SO OFTEN in everyone's dialogue, it was driving me batty). A high point was the descriptive language used to transport the reader to the streets of Havana: the scenes were evocative and very well done. One plot-related nit-pick: When Frank returns to NYC at the end of the book, he and his brothers completely remodel their restaurant to make it more "authentically Cuban." But the whole point of Frank going to Cuba in the first place was because the restaurant was so far in debt, it was about to go under. How did they get the money for a total overhaul of their restaurant (let alone Frank's two-week trip/stay in a foreign country)? Just found a few plot inconsistencies and writing hangups throughout that affected the reading "experience."
Date published: 2017-07-10

Editorial Reviews

Sofrito has the sweaty seduction of Havana's streets and the warm spirit of its food." -Mark Kurlansky, author of Salt: A World History and Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World"In this entertaining debut novel, Frank Delgado tries to save his failing restaurant by returning to Cuba, his dead father's homeland, to get ahold of a top-secret chicken recipe. But there is more than delicious chicken at stake here. Food is the road home-geographically, emotionally, metaphorically. Peppered with cooking advice from chefs, ordinary folks, and celebrities including Fidel Castro himself (an advocate of pork), Phillipe Diederich'sSofrito is a love letter to the deepest recesses of nostalgia's heart."-Cristina Garcia, author of Dreaming in Cuban and King of Cuba"A moveable feast full of folkloric flavors, comical rhythms and magic. One man's quest for the perfect spice leads him towards love for a woman and for his lost Cuba. In heaven, I know Oscar Hijuelos is smiling." -Ernesto Quinones, author of Bodega Dreams and Chango's Fire"Frank Delgado's parents fled Cuba after the Revolution, so when Frank has to make an unexpected trip to his parents' homeland, he's not really prepared. What brings him to Cuba? Oh, no biggie - just stealing a recipe that is a closely guarded state secret ... "-Book Riot"Just before Cuba busts open and its complicated essence is diluted by un monton de turistas, Phillippe Diederich's debut novel gives us an immersion complete with sights, sounds and - maybe most importantly - tastes. Food and travel go together, both with the power to edify, transport and even haunt.Sofrito does all three."-Tampa Bay Times'Exceptionally well written ... certain to be an enduringly popular addition to community library general fiction collections.'-Midwest Book Review"The language, nuance and settings ring true and give insight into a world not known by many Americans. Using the metaphor of the sauce essential to all Cuban cooking, Frank Delgado's journey is a search of his personal sofrito, the personal foundation needed to understand his life and identity as a Cuban American."-Latinopia "