[delectable review + giveaway] What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street? by Felicita Sala


Something smells good at N. 10, Garden Street. Delicious, actually!


Oh yes! Those savory aromas wafting from the windows of that charming apartment building are making my mouth water. Who lives there? What are they cooking? Better still, may we have some? 🙂

In her new picture book-cookbook, What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street? (Prestel Publishing, 2019), award-winning author/illustrator Felicita Sala invites us into the kitchens of some of the Garden Street residents so we can see for ourselves just what they’re up to.



We first meet Pilar, who’s preparing a batch of Salmorejo, a purée consisting of tomatoes mixed with stale bread, garlic, olive oil, and salt that originated in southern Spain. Smiling to herself, she seems quite content wielding her immersion blender, confident that the finished dish will be delicious.

Next door, Mr. Ping stir fries broccoli while his nephew Benjamin looks on. Benjamin calls broccoli “little trees.” Across the hall, Maria is mashing avocados for Guacamole, while upstairs, Señora Flores squeezes lime juice into her pot of Black Bean Soup.



As we turn the pages, we meet more neighbors, all busy slicing, stirring, chopping, and combining ingredients. Some of these home cooks appear pensive and contemplative, while others are blissful or playful, but all are enjoying themselves, whether they’re working alone or with helpers. Perhaps young Josef and Rafik, who are rolling Meatballs, are having too much fun (Josef is spooning something onto Rafik’s head). Or what about impish, red-headed twins Jemima and Rosie arguing over “who took the last banana”? Their freckly-faced smiles promise all will be forgiven once their Banana and Blueberry Bread comes out of the oven.


Though there’s a vanilla pod shown in the ingredients, the recipe doesn’t specify when to add it.


When all the cooking’s done, everyone takes their dishes downstairs for a big pot luck feast in the back garden. What a large, glorious table, set with homemade specialties from around the world! Rest assured, all these lovingly prepared foods taste even better because they’re being shared in the happy spirit of fellowship and community.




Sala has certainly cooked up a scrumptious feast for the eyes with this, her first picture book as both author and illustrator. She claims she isn’t an exceptional cook, but simply decided to feature classic recipes she enjoys with her family.

There are 15 recipes in all, presented opposite full page spreads of the cooks in their kitchens. Love the hand-lettered text throughout, and how she’s drawn each of the recipe ingredients, honoring their significance in the final outcome, whether a simple clove of garlic or a pucker-inducing jar of Kalamata olives. Here is the opportunity to appreciate the globular beauty of purple eggplants, the cheery redness of ripe strawberries, and the leafy coolness of fresh basil and parsley.



Young readers will enjoy learning about dishes from other cultures, pointing to ingredients they might not see in their own cupboards and refrigerators (mirin, red split lentils, tahini, Serrano ham). These are definitely not “kiddie” recipes, but rather family recipes that adults and children can make and eat together.



Equally fun is studying all the different kitchens and imagining backstories for the people in them. Pilar must be an art lover with Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist” on the wall (and I love her polka dot blouse!). While mashing her avocados, young animal loving Maria decides to slip her pet toucan a piece of tomato, and I wonder if Mister Melville (who’s puffing away on a pipe in his nautical-themed kitchen) had his own whale-ish adventures on the high seas. I would like to visit Mr. Singh to ask about his Indian artifacts, or drop by Mrs. Greenpea’s place for a nice cuppa while I say hello to her goldfish. Wouldn’t mind stealing one of Jeremiah’s Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies while listening to a Tom Waits tune with him.



Oops! One should not stick chopsticks upright in food, as this is associated with death.


Must say I was pleasantly surprised to find a recipe for Oyako Don, a favorite in our house. Usually sushi or ramen are the calling cards for Japanese cuisine, so it was nice that kids are being introduced to this “chicken and egg rice” comfort food. I’m wondering about Miss Ishida, who’s pictured reaching for a bottle of mirin while carrying a baby on her back. A little girl is pictured coloring nearby, so perhaps Miss Ishida is their nanny?

As much a storybook as a cookbook, What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street? is ultimately a heartwarming global celebration of good food, family, friends, and cultural heritage, reminding us that cooking for others is a special kind of gift. We see how each of the cooks prepared their dishes with love, generosity, joy, and the anticipation that others will soon enjoy a favorite food that is distinctly theirs. Sala’s warm and welcoming pencil and watercolor illustrations will whet the appetite and engage budding chefs of all ages.



I first became a Felicita Sala fan when I reviewed Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament; then, before I could lick the salt off my fingers, swooned all over again when I saw her Ode to an Onion: Pablo Neruda and His Muse. I became ecstatic upon hearing that she was doing a book of illustrated recipes, and for months, eagerly awaited the release of What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street?, the U.S. edition of Au 10, Rue des Jardins: Recettes du monde à partager, which was published last year (in the UK, this delightful book is titled, Lunch at 10 Pomegranate Street). Now there are editions in Spanish, Italian and German too — so indeed the irresistible aromas from this apartment building are wafting all over the world. 🙂




Only one thing left to do. Score a copy of this book and start cooking! Bon Appétit!




written and illustrated by Felicita Sala
published by Prestel Publishing, September 2019
Picture Book/Cookbook for ages 6-9, 48 pp.






The publisher is generously offering a copy of What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street? for one lucky Alphabet Soup reader. For a chance to win, simply leave a comment at this post telling us what dish you like to bring to pot luck gatherings no later than midnight (EST) November 19, 2019. You may also enter by sending an email with GARDEN STREET in the subject line to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com. Giveaway open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only, please. Good Luck!



This review is being linked to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your best aprons and bibs, and come join the fun!

* Interior spreads text and illustrations copyright © 2019 Felicita Sala, published by Prestel Junior. All rights reserved.

** Copyright © 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

44 thoughts on “[delectable review + giveaway] What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street? by Felicita Sala

  1. I often bring ginger snaps to a potluck. I have a wonderful recipe from a friend that makes a lot! This looks wonderful, Jama. I love that it includes so many kinds of dishes and shows the neighbors prepping. What a special way to create a cookbook/picture book. I loved Felicita Sala’s other books, like Ode to the Onion! It’s a mouth-watering post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love ginger snaps. I have a good recipe too — from a Hawaii cookbook. Haven’t made them in awhile. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂


  2. I also cannot get enough of Sala’s art, Jama!! Love all her books, but especially food-related!
    I like brining assortments of kimchi to potluck – fresh kimchi makes such a perfect salad/veggies!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a delicious book to wake up too, Jama. Thanks for sharing with us, and congratulations, Felicita, this beautiful work will be read for many, many years to come. Going to Pin this and share on Twitter and FB – then eat breakfast.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Wendy! I have a weakness for illustrated cookbooks, and it’s really icing on the cake when it’s done by a favorite artist.


  4. It is such a gorgeous book! I love Felicita’s art so much, and am excited that I get to work with her on one of my books! Lucky me!! Shared this on IG too, but you’re not on IG, Jama, are you?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. A book full of culture told through food with beautiful art by one of my faves, Felicita Sala! I love bringing scones to potlucks. Always a hit and the recipe is so flexible, I’ve tried so many kinds. Lemon, apple cinnamon, chocolate chips, coconut, maple bacon. Okay, now I’m hungry!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Did you have to mention scones? Now I’m really craving them! 😀 Good to know you’re also a fan of Felicita’s beautiful art.


  6. This is a delightful looking little book! And what a lovely dreamy world of neighbors from all over, making their various foods to bring them all together – which is the loveliest part of all.

    Here’s to continuing to dream THAT kind of world.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I bring dried apricots with honeyed goat cheese topped with walnuts. It was born out of what was in the fridge and needing a fast appetizer. This book looks delicious ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I would have to bring my baked macaroni and cheese casserole. It’s a favorite at our small town’s pot luck dinners. This lovely book would make a really great gift for someone for Christmas. Me. If a don’t win I just may have to purchase this for myself. Just looking at those beautiful pictures makes me feel good.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. How perfect to have an apartment building where all the residents are experts on one favorite from their diverse backgrounds. Such a beautiful post! My favorite dish to share at a potluck is deviled eggs, but I would love to try all the dishes you mentioned here.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It does sound like a really fun apartment to live in — kind of like an idealized microcosm of the world as we wish it could be. Diversity and harmony.


  10. Hahahahahahaha — I almost reviewed this book today too! I loved this book. (I have a copy — obviously– so don’t enter me in the giveaway.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So glad to hear that, Nan. I know you’ll enjoy sharing it with them, and knowing you, you’ll probably make a recipe or two with them too.


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