New Cookbook Honors Puerto Rican-Lebanese Traditions


Delicias Panchita, cocina para casi todos los días [Panchita’s Delicacies, Cuisine for Almost Every Day] is a new cookbook written by feminist scholar Yamila Azize Vargas, her mother, and sister. It is a compilation of the best of Puerto Rican and Lebanese cuisine. Azize, her sister Ana Mercedes Azize Martínez, and their mother, Panchita Vargas Azize, have gathered 100 recipes that have been in their family for generations. It is dedicated their father, Miguel Azize Mawad, whose parents arrived in Puerto Rico from Lebanon at the beginning of the 20th century.

The 215-page book, with graphic design by artist María de Mater O’Neill, includes numerous color photos by Jason Mena ( Here are excerpts from the Puerto Rico Daily Sun’s review:

Of course, Mom did most of the work of saving recipes which otherwise would have been lost. They have been handed down from generation to generation and among members of the family by oral tradition, but Panchita saved them, wrote them, changed them and improved them, with the dream of one day publishing them. The collection, and the stories that accompany it, are without a doubt unique, for where else in the world can one find such a Lebanese-Puerto Rican family with such a zest for life and a passion for food? Boribanés or Lebarican might just become the next trend among ethnic chefs.

“The cookbook is an invitation to look for the time to cook and share with the family, rescuing traditions and tastes which define a culture,” says journalist Laura Candelas. “The stories about the ingredients and how the different dishes evolved are every bit as interesting as the recipes, themselves,” said Candelas. The concoctions—many of them vegetarian—are simply explained, and all bear the seal of approval of the Azize clan.  The authors advocate the use of fresh Puerto Rican products for in their recipes, and each simply explained procedure contains at least one of them.

For decades, Yamila Azize has been a public figure, as former director of the Woman and Health Center of the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey, and for her research on health and gender at the UPR Medical Sciences campus. Of course, the professor was responsible for the prologue, finding in it a sociological trend, as she does in everything.  “[The book] is the best legacy we have been able to leave, an inexhaustible treasure that we take everywhere, to use every day, to feed our body and spirit,” she writes.

The book will go on sale Monday, in Río Piedras at La Tertulia and Librería Mágica, and in Old San Juan: La Tertulia, Casa Galesa and Concalma.

[Many thanks to Sarina Dorna Pesquera for bringing this item to our attention.]

For full article, see  

For more information on the graphic design, see

One thought on “New Cookbook Honors Puerto Rican-Lebanese Traditions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s