Listen in as Josephine Caminos Oría discusses SOBREMESA: A MEMOIR OF FOOD & LOVE IN THIRTEEN COURSES with Zibby Owens
As Christmas and the New Year approaches, what better time to do as the Argentines do and slow down, linger a bit longer at the table (or, a lot longer), and connect with the ones you love at sobremesa–time spent lingering at messy tables covered with splotched napkins, torn sugar packets and wine glasses begging for another last pour? That's when the magic happens. Oftentimes it's the words that are lost in translation that can be some of the most defining words of a culture, because they are just theirs. Sobremesa is just one of those words that we should all embrace this holiday season, and make our own. We'll be the better for it. If you're intrigued, listen into my recent chat with Zibby Owens on her award-winning podcast, Mom's Don't Have Time to Read Books here. I got to talk all things sobremesa, food, spirits and the why behind my writing. If the sobremesa tradition is one you feel would enrich your life, or one you already faithfully adhere to, I hope you'll consider gifting a copy of my culinary memoir, Sobremesa, to those you long to have around your dinner table, night after night.
Finally, I'd like to share my response to a question I'm often asked by persons hoping to write their own story, in the hopes it reaches that one person who is in need of a sign today:
How did you know you were a writer?
I didn’t consciously know I wanted to write until I was in my forties. I had studied Spanish Lit at Duke University as an undergraduate and even took a novel writing class in grad school when I was pursuing my master’s in business and communications at University of Miami, but I’d always told myself those classes were “fillers” and nice distractions. Until they weren’t.
When I was 41, I visited a Spiritual Medium for the first time. I was torn. My Catholic background told me it was wrong to speak to mediums, but my inability to move forward from the sudden loss of one of my true loves some years before pushed me to seek answers—and if not answers, closure. The latter finally won out. And I can say while I didn’t get exactly what I was seeking, I got the message I needed to put my heart at ease. As I was gathering my things to leave that day, the Spiritual Medium handed me a piece of paper with a name and phone number of an editor she had used in the past. I thanked her but told her she must be mistaken. I wasn’t a writer. I explained that as the CFO of a medical company, my writing was limited to press releases, contracts, and lengthy Medicare appeal letters. I reiterated again that I’d never written a book or even an Op Ed that would require editing. But she cupped my hand harder and looking me in the eye said, “Not yet. Hold onto this You’re going to need it.”
I did, stashing the number into my top nightstand drawer. And low and behold, a year later I went looking for it as I was possessed with the idea to write my first cookbook, Dulce de Leche: Recipes, Stories & Sweet Traditions. That editor not only helped me find my voice, but she was just the right amount of cheerleader to let me know I could see this to the end.
My journey eventually led me to publish my first cookbook as food memoir when I was 44. That writing and editing process led me to realizing there was so much more to tell behind the food, and how it nourishes from beyond the grave, leading me to begin writing my culinary memoir, Sobremesa: A Memoir of Food & Love in 13 Courses. Today, two books later, I have the beginnings of what I like to think will be a rewarding career—thanks to the Spiritual Medium for planting that seed in my mind, as well as to Zibby to all of you who have asked and read my stories! I’m currently waiting for that next lightning bolt of driving inspiration to begin my third book. And for any aspiring writers out there, let me know if you would like me to share the spiritual medium or editor’s info.
Merry Christmas, feliz Navidad, and a happy, próspero año nuevo full of new beginnings, traditions and much joy and health in 2022.
See what people are saying about Sobremesa:
"Eat, Pray, Love meets The House of Spirits with the iconic Argentine chef Doña Petrona influence."
— Hip Latina
"Will warm your corazón!"
— Allie Lazar, Pick Up the Fork
"A reminder of love as vast as the Argentine pampas!"
— Foreword Reviews
"Sobremesa reads like a cross between magical realism and the food section of the New York Times. ¡Delicioso! "
— Beth Ostrosky Stern
Pickup a copy today wherever books are sold.