Over the last year, we’ve all become pros of sorts when it comes to entertaining outdoors. But hosting a dinner when it’s hot out is an entirely different matter. Cold food loses its appetizing chill too quickly, and piping-hot food just leaves the host drenched in sweat in the kitchen as the guests arrive. You want food that is made for casual, air-temperature grazing while friends sip cocktails in glasses sweating from the heat.
As the days have gotten warmer lately, I find myself yearning for that kind of entertaining, the kind that fits the languid feeling of the day’s last exhale of heat, right before the sun sets and L.A. cools off once again. And when I think of that vibe, my mind immediately goes to Mariana Velásquez, a seasoned chef and food stylist who has worked on numerous cookbooks throughout her career and with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working in the past.
Velásquez knows how to make a meal look fashionable, sumptuous and inviting. And in her new book, “Colombiana: A Rediscovery of Recipes and Rituals From the Soul of Colombia,” she shows off her prowess via the foods and dishes of her home country. Born in Bogotá, Velásquez documents the foodways of Colombia and shows the breadth of the country’s cuisine, which all seems intentionally made to sate during sweltering temperatures.
The term colombianas, from which the cookbook takes its name, is a nickname for the women and matriarchs of Colombia,