★ The Curanderx Toolkit
In her expansive look at ancestral and herbal healing and wellness, Atava Garcia Swiecicki introduces us to curanderismo, a multifaceted approach to healing that draws from the folk medicine traditions of the Latinx diaspora. In The Curanderx Toolkit, readers will learn about the teyolia, or heart center, akin to the soul. Teyolia is one of our four energetic bodies; when it is harmed or imbalanced, we may experience depression or sadness. As founder of the Ancestral Apothecary School of Herbal, Folk and Indigenous Medicine and an expert in herbal medicine, Garcia Swiecicki provides an overview of herbalism and brujeria, or witchcraft, in Mexico and profiles the healers she has studied or practiced in community with for decades, most of whom are based in California. As Garcia Swiecicki observes, the effects of white supremacist patriarchy are all but impossible to ignore, and as a result, space is being claimed during this cultural moment for traditions and ways previously sidelined, silenced and dismissed. This book is part of that important work.
The Future Is Fungi
A few years ago I watched the documentary Fantastic Fungi and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Meanwhile, Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind is currently on my TBR pile. Which is to say: Count me curious about the mysteries, magic and medicine of mushrooms. There’s so much to learn—and so much yet to be unearthed by science. If this is the kind of thing you like to geek out about, too, you’ll be captivated by Michael Lim and Yun Shu’s The Future Is Fungi, with its 360-degree view of shrooms, spores and such. As if mirroring the depth and range of a mycelial network, the book covers mushrooms’ culinary and medicinal uses, psilocybin and even mycorestoration and mycoremediation (fungi deployed to fight pollutants and break down plastics). While this is a text-rich book, not scrimping on research and detail, the visuals are equally stunning.
Mission Vegan, the inventive new cookbook from Danny Bowien, co-founder of Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco and New York City and subject of the sixth season of “The Mind of a Chef,” makes my mouth water for dishes I could have never imagined, like smashed cucumbers with tingly granola and microwave mochi with sesame ganache. A Korean adoptee with white parents who raised him in Oklahoma, Bowien made his way to Korean cuisine peripatetically via kitchens on both coasts, and along the way he laid off the beef. While his new book doesn’t limit itself to straight-up Korean food—there’s a pomodoro recipe tucked within, in fact—it does draw fond inspiration from Korea’s traditions and ingredients, including many takes on kimchi and other banchan. With Mission Vegan, Bowien is, in his own words, “embarking on a new journey rather than documenting one I’ve already been on.”