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Havana Salsa and Grill of Victory

Food writer Viviana Carballo not only shares the memorable meals she had with her delightfully eccentric family in Havana Salsa, a vibrant memoir with seventy or more recipes, but she brings back the Havana of her childhood: the warm nights, the pounding surf, the characters and the magic that all Cuban-born émigrés remember with nostalgia. A BBQ judge for the past 16 years, Bill Brohaugh takes us to the bizarre world of Competition on the Barbeque circuit with his book The Grill of Victory.

Click here to listen to an interview with Viviana Carballo and with Bill Brohaugh

Havana Salsa: Stories and Recipes (Hardcover)
by Viviana Carballo
Published by Atria Books

Book Description

In the 1940s and 1950s, at the height of government corruption, Havana was a nonstop party. Food and music defined the culture, and the pervading sensuality -- the physical beauty of the city itself with its frisson of danger -- made it a magnet for tourists, gangsters, and the world's most glamorous celebrities. This was the Cuba of Viviana Carballo's magical childhood and adventurous adolescence. Born in 1939, she was the only child of a stylish and spirited woman and a handsome astrologer and writer, whose passion for food ignited Carballo's own taste for the exotic, eclectic cuisine for which Havana had become known. By the time she reached her teenage years, sultry nights dancing at the Tropicana and rubbing elbows with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Meyer Lansky, and Guillermo Cabrera Infante nourished her hunger for the rhythm and creativity pulsating throughout her beloved city.

But all of that changed in 1959, when Fidel Castro took command of this rollicking paradise, turning it into a country marked by extreme poverty, food shortages, power outages, and daily water stoppages. In 1961, Carballo left her beloved country with the clothes on her back and no idea when she would ever see her husband, family, or friends again. It is only through her memories that she has ever returned to the place that defined her.

Havana Salsa is a collection of stories about her large, extended family, a rather eccentric group who conducted their lives against the extraordinary backdrop of Havana, and of her own experiences amid the city's former delicious decadence. It also showcases the food and recipes Carballo associates with each delightful family memory, beginning with her childhood in the forties (calabaza fritters, sweet plantain tortillas, and oxtail stew), through the sensual fifties (roast shoulder of lamb, Cuban bouillabaisse), and then the first eighteen months of Castro's revolution (mango pie, pollito en cazuela, and papas with chorizo).

Havana Salsa tells the history of Carballo's Havana as only she can -- through the intimate and unifying experience of food, family, and friends.

With her original and immensely charming voice we are transported through her memories of Cuba in the 40s and 50s when the enthralling power, the 'magic realism' that Cuba had in spades then was alive and well. She saves it and then teaches us how to prepare these lusty flavors that can come alive again in our kitchens." - Chef Norman Van Aken.

"I have seen and probably own every Cuban cookbook published since the 1950s, and Havana Salsa goes way beyond black beans! It is so well researched—no cookbook collection can do without it, and it brings back the past in a delicious and decadent way." - Chef Douglas Rodriguez.

The Grill of Victory: Hot Competition on the Barbecue Circuit (Paperback)
by William Brohaugh, Claud Mann (Foreword)
published by: Emmis Books

Book Description

A guided tour through the wacky world of competitive barbecuing, The Grill of Victory introduces the fascinating people who cook for love, trophies, and all-important contest points. The book leads readers through Galax, Virginia’s “Smoke on the Mountain” competition, explaining how teams are organized; types of grills used, from rusty barrels to elaborate luxury models; the rules of competition (and how they’re sometimes broken); what judges are looking for; and how each competition fits into the "Memphis in May" barbecue competition circuit. Tips and tricks — including ways to spice up store-bought barbecue sauce — and winners' secrets to great grilling techniques, rubs, and sauces turn backyard chefs into BBQ champs.

From the Publisher

This isn’t a bunch of "fellers" standing around a hibachi with a bag of charcoal and a can of lighter fluid. This is, as Brohaugh puts it, the "backyard on steroids." Teams converge on competitions with huge smokers ("the grills of the gods"), bivouac gear, and sometimes even RV's complete with showers, comfy chairs and air conditioning. THE GRILL OF VICTORY delightfully describes the fierce competition and the friendly "ribbing," the tools of the teams and some of their secrets, and the towns and cities on the circuit.
With a foreword by Chef Claud Mann, host of TBS’ Dinner and a Movie

About the Author

Bill Brohaugh has been judging barbecue competitions since 1990 and is certified as a judge on the Memphis in May Circuit and was chosen as one of four finals judges for the 2006 Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. He is a former editor of Writer’s Digest magazine, former editorial director of Writer’s Digest books and is the author of Write Tight and Professional Etiquette for Writers as well as dozens of magazine nonfiction pieces. He lives in Union, Kentucky.

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