Blasta Books are changing the way that cookbooks are published in Ireland with the launch of the first book in their new series
Louth-based Kristin Jensen has been a freelance editor and food writer for 20 years, specialising in cookbooks and recipes and working with Ireland’s best-known chefs and authors. After two decades working in book publishing, she knew that traditional cookbooks are incredibly expensive to produce. But what this often means is that only the most high-profile people and the most mainstream topics or trends tend to get published.
Many voices and many parts of our food culture in Ireland were just not being represented.
‘I was convinced that there had to be another way,’ Kristin says, ‘one that enables more voices to be heard and more niches, topics and cuisines to be explored.’
And so the idea for Blasta Books was born.
What are Blasta Books?
The Blasta Books series was launched through a Kickstarter campaign in May 2021, which raised over €55,000 towards the production of the first four books in what will be a quarterly annual series. These authors are the faces and voices of modern Ireland:
• Blasta Books #1: Tacos by Lily Ramirez-Foran
• Blasta Books #2: Hot Fat by Russell Alford and Patrick Hanlon
• Blasta Books #3: The United Nations of Cookies by Jess Murphy and Eoin Cluskey
• Blasta Books #4: Wok by Kwanghi Chan
There are two things that connect absolutely everyone, everywhere: food and stories. More people need to be able to share their food and by extension their story, which is why Blasta Books will initially prioritise new, previously unpublished voices in Ireland.
How are Blasta Books different from other cookbooks?
‘Blasta Books are to cookbooks what street food is to restaurants,’ Kristin says. ‘They give people a fun, accessible and affordable way to eat exciting food.’
Each book will be a hardcover, 72-page A5 cookbook illustrated by Dublin artist Nicky Hooper. They are all standalone books, but as a quarterly series they will also provide a more inclusive snapshot of Ireland’s modern and diverse food culture, from tacos to tapas, spice bags to sushi. They are little books with big voices.
About Blasta Books #1: Tacos
Tacos was published on Thursday, 3 February 2022 as the first book in the new Blasta Books series.
Tacos is the first cookbook to be published in Ireland by a Mexican-Irish writer. Lily Ramirez-Foran has spent years sharing how fun, vibrant and convivial Mexican food is and how easy it is to make at home, and what better way to do that than with tacos? These are the authentic flavours of Mexico, from real corn tortillas to smoky chillies, matched with the best of Irish produce. There is something for everyone here, whether you’re a carnivore, vegetarian or vegan. Your taco night is about to get taken up a level. Tacos (€15) is published by Blasta Books (blastabooks.com).
About the author:
Lily Ramirez-Foran is the founder of Ireland’s first Mexican boutique grocer and cookery school, Picado Mexican in Dublin. Lily has been living and cooking in Ireland for 20 years with her Irish husband and business partner, Alan. She’s a woman on a mission to showcase Mexican food beyond its clichés and misconceptions. When not busy with work, Lily can be found experimenting with recipes, writing at her kitchen table and learning to grow food in her tiny urban garden.
1% for UNHCR
At Blasta Books we have been inspired by Seth Godin’s advice to ‘make things better by making better things’, so we will be donating 1% of the net profits from all sales of books and merchandise from now until the end of 2022 to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.
So now when you support the Blasta Books project, you will also be helping UNHCR to protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. Together, we are all making more room at the table.