The Halo-Halo Review is pleased to interview authors in the aftermath of their books’ releases. This issue’s featured authors include Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino.
What is your most recent book? Who published and when was it released?
My Mother’s Philippine Recipes: Filipino Cookbook Recipes From Asian in America (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017).
What has been the response/what has surprised you most about the response?
The response has been overwhelming,and touching. The book sales have been good. The reviews are positive, and I keep getting invitations for cooking demonstrations from the cookbook, webinars, podcasts, panel speaking, media, and news outlets, to talk about my cookbook, in the context of Filipino home cooking.
What surprises me most is that folks keep asking me to do more video cooking demos from recipes in my cookbook.
I wrote My Mother’s Philippine Recipes Cookbook to honor my mom Lulu Reyes Besa, and her love for classic, traditional home cooking. I compiled 30 recipes,of her most favorite dishes for this cookbook. After my mother married my father, Gualberto Besa, they lived in Tarlac, Tarlac, in a very agricultural town, where Mom devoted her life to cooking, using produce which my Dad planted in our farm and backyard. And that has always been the basis of Mom’s cooking—to cook from what was in the backyard or what Dad brought home from the farm. When my husband,Elpi and I migrated to the States, I brought Mom’s recipes with me, which I have been cooking for my family, and I’ve passed on these recipes to my sons, Tim and Toby.
Tell me something not obvious or known about the book?
My mother, Lulu Reyes Besa, loved to nurture others by her cooking. She wanted so much to write a cookbook during her lifetime, but sadly she never did. So, I carried on her wish, by putting together her recipes, each with photographs of the dishes I cooked, in this cookbook. If my Mom were here today, she’d be delighted you asked for [participation in] Halo Halo Review. And to thank you, she would have invited you over,for merienda, lunch or dinner, and she would have cooked for you anything you liked from the cookbook. If Mom knew how much her classic recipes in the cookbook are enjoyed and shared by many, it would have meant so much to her.
What are you working on right now?
I travel often to my home in the Philippines and throughout Asia in search of traditional recipes and stories about culture history and personalities I plan to write my next book on Filipino Food and family relationships.
Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino, Filipino American author, is a multi-awarded winner of the Plaridel Writing Awards for best in journalism, given by the Philippine-American Press Club in San Francisco, CA. Her food essay “A Hundred Mangoes in a Bottle” has won a Doreen Gamboa Fernandez Food Writing Award (Manila, Philippines). She was an awardee of the FWN Filipina Women’s Network 100 Most Influential Women of the World in 2013 (San Francisco, CA).
Betty Ann, as she is fondly called, was born and raised in Tarlac, Philippines, and now based in New Jersey, USA. She is a cookbook author, journalist, food writer, and a correspondent for Positively Filipino online magazine. She blogs about Filipino home cooking recipes on her popular site Asian in America.
She recently launched her cookbook: Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Food in a Multicooker Pot, a follow up to My Mother’s Philippine Recipes, a collection of her late mother’s favorite Filipino classic dishes which Betty Ann transformed to everyday cooking in her American kitchen. Recently, she was a contributor to the Adobo Chronicles Cookbook: A Collection of Unique Adobo Recipes and Candid Essays on the Filipino Adobo (Philippines, 2020). Other books she has written are How to Cook Philippine Desserts, Cakes and Snacks; Statesman and Survivor Elpidio Quirino, 6th President of the Philippines; and she illustrated Color and Cook Food Coloring Book, an adult coloring book of Filipino food.
Betty Ann is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (NYC); and the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance. She is also on the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation Board of Advisors.