3 Non-Fiction Food Books for #LatinxHeritageMonth

It's Latinx Heritage Month! Latinx Heritage Month is from September 15th through October 15th. It is also known as National Hispanic Heritage Month 2021. I'm here to bring you three non fiction food books that I would highly recommend you read!

But before we jump into the books...

What is Latinx Heritage Month?

"Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

Now onto the books! Please note that the links before are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using my link I will receive a small commission AND 10% of your purchase supports independent bookstores in the United States.

Where I Come From: Life Lessons from a Latino Chef

by Aaron Sanchez

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

Publish Date: May 04, 2021 (Hard Cover was published 2020)

Pages: 304

"America's most prominent Latino chef shares the story behind his food, his family, and his professional journey"

I'm not sure about you, but I learned about Aaron Sanchez from the Food Network. I remember him on numerous shows but I felt he had his place at the table when he became a judge on Chopped. I also remember his heat based shows on the sister channel, the Cooking Channel. My younger sister was a huge fan of Aaron Sanchez too.

Beyond a love of the food Sanchez made and the recipes he developed, I have always loved Sanchez' humility. In his book, you are able to see where Sanchez, as the title says, came from. It was refreshing to see how influential his mother was for his culinary talents. I found his memoir approachable, refreshing, and a lovely read. Most importantly, I love that Aaron Sanchez continues to give back, with multiple scholarships in his name to help other Latinx individuals find their way into the kitchens.

Flamin' Hot: The Incredible True Story of One Man's Rise from Janitor to Top Executive

By Richard Montanez

Publisher: Portfolio

Publish Date: June 15, 2021

Pages: 240

Read the story everyone is talking about: how a janitor struggling to put food on the table invented Flamin' Hot Cheetos in a secret test kitchen, breaking barriers and becoming the first Latino frontline worker promoted to executive at Frito-Lay

You might have heard about Richard Montanez when Eva Longoria announced she had purchased the rights to his life story. Searchlight will distribute the film. Casting has already been announced on the film, so you should see the movie in theatres (or streaming) in 2022. I could see this slated for the holiday season in 2022 or as potential Oscar-bait by casting a diverse Mexican cast.

Richard Montanez's life does sound like a movie. To move up the ranks from janitor to executive at Frito-Lay, his life is indeed compelling. I should warn that Flamin' Hot reads more like a business book than it does a memoir. Each chapter title emphasizes a lesson to help you, the reader, succeed in business. In my opinion, these reads and sounds like a book written by a motivation speaker/public speaker. This shouldn't be surprising because that is largely what Montanez does now for work. He's no longer tethered to desk but instead is the lead speaker at many events.

In recent weeks, Flamin Hot has received heat for being inaccurate in its account on how the spicy snack was created. Business Insider and many other outlets covered the story, interviewing former Frito Lay employees to expose that Montanez's account of the story is quite false. A lack of documentation seems to be the leading reason to discredit Montanez's story, but with such a unique story, Montanez counters, why would anyone have paperwork on him.

We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time

by Jose Andres

Publisher: Anthony Bourdain/Ecco

Publish Date: September 03, 2019

Pages: 288


The true story of how a group of chefs fed hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans after Hurricane Maria and touched the hearts of many more

This was one of my favorite reads of 2020. Chef José Andrés is a hero, to me. Right after Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico, Andrés got on a plane and headed to the islands to help. His journey started with just a few cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise. But he came to the islands to feed the people. With no power, no lights, and everything against him, Chef José Andrés could not be deterred.

Andrés' story is compelling and giving and is a story of hope in the face of disaster. It also shows us the importance of community kitchens and how citizens can come together to help others.

Beyond that, a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Chef Relief Network of World Central Kitchen for efforts in Puerto Rico and beyond.

What do you think of my three book recommendations? Let me know if you're going to pick one up!