Hawaii Mom Blog: Sobremesa by Josephine Caminos Oria




June 9, 2021

Sobremesa by Josephine Caminos Oria


Disclosure: Complimentary product was received for review purposes.

Sobremesa, a Memoir of Food and Love in Thirteen Courses, is a book that not only chronicled Josephine Caminos Oria's journey of finding her passions - whether it was her soulmate in her husband, Gaston, or her culinary career making dulce de leche, but it is also an abbreviated guidebook in a sense, as it took me on a culinary and cultural tour of Argentina, revealing the many foods, traditions, places, and people that make that country so special.

Josephine shared many stories of love and heartache, tragedy and triumph, and through it all, I loved how her stories intertwined so many food memories.  Her descriptions of empanadas or her play-by-play of her mother cooking up mushroom sandwiches only made my mouth water (for those who want to try out some of Jospehine's favorite dishes - recipes are included in the book).

I learned so much about Argentinian food and culture.  Like for so many throughout the world, food brings comfort and joy, and it helps to create cultural identities while also bridging different cultures.  

Sobremesa, a tradition in which people spend time at the table after eating, sometimes for hours, is such an integral part of Argentinian culture.  

Sobremesa is somewhat similar to our "Talk Story" in Hawai`i - where we gather with family and friends, oftentimes over food and drink, and pass on stories, ideas, and other news.

I think this is vital for any culture, especially during these uncertain times.  As restrictions begin to ease and gatherings are becoming the norm again, people will gather with friends and family to not only savor the food, but the moments spent with loved ones catching up on each other's lives. 

I found it fascinating to learn so much about Argentinian food and culture through Sobremesa, and I know there is still so much to learn.  I feel that it's really important for everyone to pass on the knowledge and tradition of the foods, places, and people that helped to create their identities.  Although communities and countries around the world are connected and share similar foods and beliefs, all are special in their own ways. 

Coincidentally - this is what I have been doing for the past couple of years through my work with Na`au (preserving Hawai`i's culture, while progressing the local cuisine), and the parallels throughout the book are striking - it's what drew me into the book in the first place.

Sobremesa was inspiring and educational, and it reaffirmed the fact that there is no better time than the present to take a chance - whether it be on love or a new career, and that we all should experience a Sobremesa, or at least our own versions of it - to share food, knowledge, and love with those nearest and dearest - ensuring recipes, memories, stories, and most importantly, cultures, never die. 

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