Las Hermanas de la Milpa: Comienza con la Calabaza / The Sisters of the Milpa: It Begins with the Squash is a bilingual and Indigenous (Mixteco) cookbook by chef Natalia Méndez of La Morada Mutual Aid Kitchen.
Like other initiatives devised by La Morada, this book seeks to disseminate Indigenous knowledges and practices, and at the same time to conceptualize and expand the ways of doing mutual aid. Chef Natalia shares eight Oaxacan recipes that use all the parts of the squash plant, in different stages; teaches us, readers, how to take care of the soil; and also gives tips to grow food at home!
In the words of professor Ángeles Donoso Macaya, who assisted with the transcription, editing, and translation of the texts, Las Hermanas de la Milpa / The Sisters of the Milpa “is the embodied memory, in narrative form, of the chef of one of the most important mutual aid hubs that emerged during the pandemic in NYC (and perhaps the only one that still continues to operate as such), and an eloquent document of the ongoing struggle for food sovereignty led by migrant Indigenous communities.”
The book is also, in and of itself, an art project: it includes illustrations by poet, artist, and activist Marco Saavedra, photos by photographer Camila Falquez, and has been beautifully designed by Lucky Risograph. It was produced in part through the generous support of a Humanities New York Action Grant.