Kickstarter campaign is live: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blastabooks/blasta-books-little-books-big-voices
Louth-based Kristin Jensen has been a freelance editor and food writer for 20 years, specialising in cookbooks and recipes and working with Ireland’s best-known chefs and authors. After two decades working in book publishing, she knows that traditional cookbooks – the kind with 100 recipes, 250 pages and sumptuous styling and photography – are incredibly expensive to produce. But what this often means is that only the most high-profile people and the most mainstream topics or trends tend to get published. Many voices and many parts of our food culture in Ireland are just not being represented.
‘I was convinced that there had to be another way,’ Kristin says, ‘one that enables more voices to be heard and more niches, topics and cuisines to be explored – and that puts fun and experimentation back in the kitchen and on the table.’
How are Blasta Books different from other cookbooks?
‘Blasta Books are to cookbooks what street food is to restaurants,’ Kristin says. ‘They give people a fun, accessible and affordable way to eat exciting food.’
The Blasta Books series was launched via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that started on 14 May, with the aim of publishing four books per year as a quarterly periodical.
- Blasta Books #1: Tacos by Lily Ramirez-Foran
- Blasta Books #2: Hot Fat by Russell Alford and Patrick Hanlon
- Blasta Books #3: The United Nations of Cookies by Jess Murphy and Eoin Cluskey
- Blasta Books #4: Wok by Kwanghi Chan
Each book will be a hardcover, 72-page A5 cookbook illustrated by Dublin artist Nicky Hooper. They are all standalone small books, but as a collectible series they will also provide a more inclusive snapshot of Ireland’s modern and diverse food culture, from tacos to tapas, spice bags to sushi. They are little books with big voices.
Kristin says: ‘There are two things that connect absolutely everyone: food and stories. More people need to be able to share their food and by extension their story, which is why Blasta Books aims to prioritise new, previously unpublished voices in Ireland.’
The Kickstarter campaign
The initial €25,000 goal will fund the first two full-colour, 72-page, A5 hardcover books. That goal was reached in just a few days, so at the time of writing, additional funding will go towards publishing book #3. Then once that goal is met, Kristin will keep up the momentum in order to fund book #4 in the first year too, which means one book will be released every quarter throughout 2022.
‘We’re starting with little more than an appetite and a big idea,’ says Kristin. ‘The feast is nearly ready. Now we need you to pull up a chair and join us.’
The website is www.blastabooks.com – join the mailing list for updates on Blasta publications.
About the publisher
As a freelance editor, food writer and project manager, Kristin Jensen has worked on hundreds of books, including 75 cookbooks and tens of thousands of recipes, over the past 20 years for clients such as Penguin, Gill Books, Octopus and Musgraves. She’s copyedited, proofread and developed recipes and collaborated with Ireland’s best-known, award-winning food writers and chefs, including Neven Maguire, Darina Allen, Rory O’Connell, Roz Purcell, David and Stephen Flynn and many more. She has co-authored two books, Saturday Pizzas at the Ballymaloe Cookery School (Ryland Peters & Small, 2017) and Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider (New Island, 2014) and is currently working on a third book to be published in spring 2023. She has also served as the secretary and the chair of the Irish Food Writers’ Guild and is a member of AFEPI Ireland.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of AFEPI Ireland.