Blasta Books #5: Soup

By Blanca Valencia, Dee Laffan and Mei Chin

Everyone is passionately opinionated about their soups. We can argue through the night about blended soups, cold soups, greens in our soups, clear soups and, ultimately, why our favourite soup is the very best. The soups we make say we miss our moms, we want to travel, that the seasons are changing or that we are truly, deeply hungover. Soups define the stock from which we come and connect us all.

In Blasta Books #5: Soup, authors and Spice Bags podcast co-hosts Blanca Valencia, Dee Laffan and Mei Chin take you on a journey around the globe from the comfort of the communities within Ireland. The soups they have collected reflect individual cultures, memories and tastes, but they are also a reflection of Irish food today and the people behind it.

"Soup is a snapshot of who we are today, and what we eat today. It is a mezcla, where Ahmet Dede’s Turkish red lentil soup sits alongside Sasha Shyskina’s recipe for Ukrainian borsch. The book is both a manifesto, and a curriculum, because the authors show a continuum between Myrtle Allen’s watercress soup, and sopa de tortilla from the Dublin food truck El Milagro. We can describe their thesis as exploring both the Continuity of Change, and the Origin of Influence. They describe an Irish food world that is everything, everywhere, all at once, and they tell this story with subtlety and respect. Soup is a jewel, in a bowl." – John and Sally McKenna, McKennas' Guides

  • ISBN: 9781999379957
  • Format: Hardcover, 72 pages
  • Dimensions: 21.7 x 1.2 x 15.4 cm
  • Publication date: 26 January 2023

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    About the authors

    Blanca Valencia is a cook, writer, speaker and podcaster. Born in Spain, she grew up in Central America and has lived and worked in the UK, China, France, Argentina, the US and now Ireland. She has a Grand Diplôme from London’s Le Cordon Bleu and an MA in Gastronomy from TU Dublin. Blanca passionately believes in diversity and education through food. @blancsvalencia

    Dee Laffan is a freelance journalist and editor with over 15 years’ experience in the areas of food, drink and travel. Her business also includes digital content consultancy, working with clients from the hospitality industry to create and manage digital strategies, content and social media. Dee’s passion for Irish food has led her to many roles and she is a proud member of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild. @deelaffan

    Mei Chin is a writer who was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, grew up in Connecticut and lived in New York City and hence likes to think of herself as a tri-state lady. She now lives in Dublin. Mei was the 2005 winner of the James Beard MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award as well as the IACP Bert Greene Journalism Award for Best Culinary Writing in 2010 and 2013. She has also taught food writing at Yale University. @jiemeimeichin

    Blanca, Dee and Mei are all co-hosts of the award-winning Spice Bags podcast. @spicebagspod

    Photographer credit: Melanie Mullan

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