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Sobremesa: A Memoir of Food & Love in Thirteen Courses



In her coming-of-age adventure, Caminos Oría travels to her family’s homeland of Argentina in search of belonging—to family, to country, to a love, and ultimately, to oneself. Steeped in the lure of Latin culture, she pieces together her mom and abuela’s pasts, along with the nourishing dishes—delectably and spiritually—that formed their kitchen arsenal. But Caminos Oría’s travels from las pampas to the prairie aren't easy or conventional. She grapples with mystical encounters with the spirit world that lead her to discover a part of herself that, like sobremesa, had been lost in translation.

Just as she's ready to give up on love all together, Caminos Oría’s own heart surprises her by surrendering to a forbidden, with the Argentine man of her dreams. To stay together, she must make a difficult choice: return to the safe life she knows in the States or follow her heart and set a new table, one where she can be her full self, unapologetically, in full-fledged Spanglish.

Deliciously soulful and chock full of romance, this otherworldly, multigenerational story of a daughter's love and familial culinary legacy serves up, in 13 courses, a gastronomic meditation on the tables we set for ourselves throughout our lives—knowingly or not. It’s a story that lures us to slow down, to savor meals mindfully and see where the communion of food takes us, beyond the plate. It’s there we find our one true voice, look within, and face the questions we’ve been running from: Is this the table I envisioned for myself before the world told me who I am supposed to be? If not, reset it. Do I belong? Do the people around me lift me up? If not, change tables. Where am I seated? At the head? In the middle? There is no right or wrong answer, but does my chosen seat position me for the role I’m meant to fulfill in this lifetime? If not, change places.

Sobremesa invites us to savor the healing embrace of time-honored food and the wisdom it espouses. It’s a reminder that that home really is anywhere the heart is. And for all looking to find their place, it’s an invitation to claim your seat at sobremesa’s endless table, where everyone is welcome.

Biography

Josephine Caminos Oría was born in the city of La Plata, Argentina, and raised Stateside from infancy on in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Gathering around a table large enough to sit her family of eight, plus two for her abuelos on her mom’s side, food and the sobremesa that accompanied it, was how Josephine learned to make sense of the world. Stories of where she came from, and the people she’d left behind, were served to Josephine during family sobremesas she savored like meals. Those tales nourished Josephine’s imagination and sense of self, setting the table for Josephine’s second act—a family and professional life focused around Argentine food and culture. It was in her early 40s, with five young children in tow, that Josephine took a chance on herself, leaving a C-level career to make dulce de leche. Today, Josephine, along with her Argentine husband, Gastón, is the founder of La Dorita Cooks, an all-natural line of dulce de leche products and Pittsburgh’s first resource-based kitchen incubator for start-up and early stage food makers. In addition, Josephine is the author of the recently published, “Sobremesa: A Memoir of Food & Love in Thirteen Courses (Scribe Publishing, Co., May 2021) and the cookbook, “Dulce de Leche: Recipes, Stories, and Sweet Traditions” (Burgess Lea Press, February 2017). The Orías, along with their five children, Lucas, Mateo, Nico, Nacho and Poupée, golden retriever, Andino, and beagle, Avi (short for Avocado)—are currently living la vida low-country in Charleston, SC.

For more information about Josephine Caminos Oría, please visit www.LaDorita.net. She can be found on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.