Book and Bite with Cynthia Guardado

Sep 14, 2022, 6:00 pm

Join the SLCC Food Pantry for our first Book and Bite with Cynthia Guardado. We will be sharing meals from Decolonizing Your Diet by Luz Calvo and poetry by Cynthia Guardado.

Find us here: West Valley Center Room 130, 3460 South 5600 West, West Valley City, UT 84128


More than just a cookbook, Decolonize Your Diet redefines what is meant by "traditional" Mexican food by reaching back through hundreds of years of history to reclaim heritage crops as a source of protection from modern diseases of development. Authors Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel are life partners; when Luz was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, they both radically changed their diets and began seeking out recipes featuring healthy, vegetarian Mexican foods. They promote a diet that is rich in plants indigenous to the Americas (corn, beans, squash, greens, herbs, and seeds), and are passionate about the idea that Latinxs in America, specifically Mexicans, need to ditch the fast food and return to their own culture's food roots for both physical health and spiritual fulfillment.


Cenizas offers an arresting portrait of a Salvadoran family whose lives have been shaped by the upheavals of global politics. The speaker of these poems—the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants—questions the meaning of homeland as she navigates life in the United States while remaining tethered to El Salvador by the long shadows cast by personal and public history. Cynthia Guardado’s poems give voice to the grief of family trauma, while capturing moments of beauty and tenderness. Maternal figures preside over the verses, guiding the speaker as she searches the ashes of history to tell her family’s story. The spare, narrative style of the poems are filled with depth as the family’s layers come to light.

Guardado crafted the poems in Cenizas over a ten-year period, often traveling to El Salvador for research and to conduct interviews. The Salvadoran Civil War haunts the pages of this collection as it unflinchingly explores war, its aftermath, and the bittersweet legacies that are passed down from one generation to the next. The poems mourn those who were lost and honor the strength of the speaker’s ancestors. “All my people have been born from the ashes of volcanoes,” she writes, invoking a family lineage that has endured the atrocities committed against them. Even so, El Salvador keeps pulling the speaker back—and despite warnings of danger, she still manages to find beauty among the ruins.

- ASL interpretation provided by Sophia Burke.
- Livestream available @utahbookfest on Instagram.
- On site sensory kit. Ask Willy Palomo for one.
- Request any additional questions or accommodations here:

This event is possible with support from SLCC Dream Center and Utah Humanities.

SLCC Dream Center

West Valley Center
3460 S 5600 W RM 130
West Valley City , UT 84120-1320
Map [+]

Event Contact:

SLCC Dream Center
(801) 957-2129