Recetas con Amor (Recipes with Love)
Recipes by Casimira Garcia
Photos and illustrations by Cesar Ernesto Garcia
Recetas con Amor (Recipes with Love) is a collaboration between mother and son, Casimira Garcia and Cesar Ernesto Garcia. With all text in both Spanish and English, the bilingual cookbook / artbook hybrid collects 24 of Casimira’s traditional Dominican home recipes and archive photos from her childhood, along with Cesar’s photos from his travels to the Dominican Republic and illustrations inspired by his mother’s cooking. Recetas con Amor (Recipes with Love) is unique in that it uses an experimental format, the intersection of art book and cookbook, to emphasize intergenerational communication as a means to explore and preserve cultural and familial history.
Stuck at home for many months at the beginning of the pandemic, Cesar approached his mother with the idea to make a cookbook. His intent was twofold; finding a way to make quarantine more productive and enjoyable, and to memorialize the recipes that have been passed down in his family. Some of these recipes are traditional, some are Casimira’s re-inventions and experiments.
Born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx, NY, Cesar Ernesto Garcia is a multimedia artist whose parents immigrated from the Dominican Republic. Using photography, videography, sound and visual art, his practice explores places he’s traveled, including his parents’ hometown. Currently studying at the Bronx Community College and using his self taught experience, Cesar is furthering his career as an independent filmmaker, director and screenwriter, with the vision to create his own version of Hollywood in the Dominican Republic.
One of 10 siblings, Casimira Garcia immigrated to New York in 1987 from Piedra Blanca, Bonao, Dominican Republic. She has since raised three children and worked as an educator with children with disabilities in the Bronx for over 30 years. Also a writer, Casimira has most recently published her first cookbook, collecting recipes she learned throughout her childhood. She devotes much of her time to writing in her room and keeping many of the journals she has filled throughout her life. Now retiring in the year 2022, Casimira plans to continue her work as an educator by starting her own non-profit tutoring program for young immigrant children, in the hopes of expanding their level of education to their greatest potential.
Published by DIZZY BOOKS
Edition of 100
Red Spiral Bound
In Casimira’s introduction to the book, she writes: By the time I was 7 years old, I learned to cook and had gained quite an amount of responsibility as the oldest sister of 10 (5 boys & 5 girls). One of the main influencers in my life, who taught me how to cook, was my grandmother Mathilde Acosta. Raising me and all of my siblings, Mathilde loved to cook. She liked to make corn and squash arepa (pie), cassava, and coconut candy. When cooking any meal her “go to” seasoning base was just salt, onion, garlic and green peppers - especially for meat and beans. In addition to the cilantro, oregano, and coriander she liked to add frequently, her food was always exquisite. Whenever she made arepa or casabe, I was always enthusiastic to help her and I would get excited to slice and prepare the yuca and coconuts to make our meals. I really loved cooking stewed eggplant mixed with chicken or stewed pork and lentils. I remember one day, when I made lentils for my grandmother Mathilde, she said, ‘This broth can raise souls from the dead, that’s how delicious it is. Where did you learn to cook this?’ When I cooked the eggplant for her, she had the same reaction. My grandmother did not like eggplant when other people cooked it, so she never ate it. When I cooked stewed eggplant with meat, she loved it. She’d always say, ‘Wow, it's true that no one makes eggplant with more love than you.’”