Explore African Literature
November 30, 2022
TikTok creator and food editor at Bon Appetit Zaynab Issa is releasing her very own cookbook soon. Titled Third Culture: Simple Recipes for the Curious Cook, the book will be published by Abrams Books specializing in art and illustrated books.
Issa’s cookbook is a “home-cook friendly collection of recipes inspired by the author’s experience as a first-generation American,” according to Publisher’s Marketplace. The eclectic recipes also show influences from the Indian and East African flavors of Issa’s Khoja heritage, her travels through the Middle East and Europe, and her childhood in New Jersey watching Ina Garten on the Food Network.
One of Issa’s staple weeknight dinners is Kuku Paka, a classic East African chicken coconut curry. See below:
@zaynab_issa Staple weeknight dinner #eastafrican #chickencurry #easydinner #easyrecipe #dinnerideas #curry #coconutcurry #coconut ♬ Sunny Day – Ted Fresco
Zaynab Issa grew up in New Jersey. Issa’s parents are both of Indian descent but lived in East Africa. Her father is from Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania, and her mother is from Lindi, a rural community on the outskirts of the city.
Issa previously published a zine about her family’s East-African Indian recipes titled Let’s Eat. In an interview about her recipes, she remarked:
My culture is a minority within a minority. I am not Indian, I’m not East African — I’m East African–Indian, and there is so much culinary history there that is untapped. There are so few written recipes, and I really wanted to formalize these dishes that I grew up eating so they could be shared. A big part of representation is seeing other people experience and enjoy what you are familiar with, and this subset of Indian or East African food was not being highlighted.
Issa is an associate food editor at Bon Appétit and TikTok and Instagram creator. She has also written for Buzzfeed and Food52. Issa graduated from Baruch College with a B.A. in Journalism and Marketing, and currently lives in New York.
Congrats to Issa on her latest cookbook! We cannot wait to try out Issa’s recipes in our kitchens. Stay tuned for the publication date, cover reveal, and preorder link.
by Kuhelika Ghosh
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