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 knows that traditional cookbooks – the kind with 100 recipes, 250 pages and sumptuous styling and photography – 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 are 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 that puts more fun and experimentation back in the kitchen and on the table.’
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.’
The first two books will be launched via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that starts today, with the aim of increasing that number to four per year to be a quarterly periodical.
- Blasta Books #1: Tacos by Lily Ramirez-Foran
- Blasta Books #2: Hot Fat by Russell Alford and Patrick Hanlon
- Blasta Books #3: Jess Murphy and Eoin Cluskey (title TBC)
- Blasta Books #4: Kwanghi Chan (title TBC)
Each book will be a hardcover, 72-page A5 cookbook illustrated by Dublin artist Nicky Hooper. They are all standalone small books, but as a collectible 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.
Kristin says, ‘There are two things that connect absolutely everyone: food and stories. More people need to be able to share their food and by extension their story, which is why Blasta Books aims to prioritise new, previously unpublished voices.’
The Kickstarter campaign
The Blasta Books series will be launched through a Kickstarter campaign that goes live on Friday, 14 May.
The €25,000 goal will fund the first two full-colour, 72-page, A5 hardcover books. The authors for books #3 and #4 are also already lined up and ready to go, so if the target is exceeded and enough funds are raised to cover the launch of all four books in the first year, then one book will be released every quarter throughout 2022.
‘We’re starting with little more than an appetite and a big idea,’ says Kristin. ‘The feast is nearly ready. Now we need you to pull up a chair and join us.’
The website is www.blastabooks.com – join the mailing list for updates on Blasta Books.