Alona Abbady Martinez

Alona Abbady Martinez is a food, travel, and luxury lifestyle writer in South Florida with over twenty years of writing experience. She freelances for numerous publications including Gastro ObscuraINDULGE, Miami Herald, inDoral and inWeston Magazines, and Eater Miami. Previous work has appeared on Alimentum Journal, Brain, Child Magazine, Humor.org, Every Day With Rachael Ray, The Dallas Morning News, and The Sun Sentinel. For over ten years she has enchanted readers with her blog, Culinary Compulsion, based on her adventures with food, family, and travel. Her global food memoir with recipes, My Culinary Compulsion, Serving Up Sizzle, came out December 2017. You can reach her at alonamartinez.com, on Instagram at alonaabbadymartinez or twitter @alonamartinez.

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My Culinary Compulsion

…Food. A kaleidoscope of memories: the fine dance between burnt and fire-roasted eggplants, the brightness a squeeze of fresh lime juice gives garlic-infused hummus, the sweet cloud of rum slowly heating in my mother’s custard wrapping itself around my face, a lustful temptress. With such daily seductions, it was inevitable that food would be my destiny.

Daughter of an Israeli father and an American mother, Alona Abbady Martinez was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela in a home that obsessed over food.

Every event warranted a culinary extravaganza: sister-got-braces-tightened called for Moussaka, soft to the bite, followed by the Dalai Lama of smoothness: Yoli’s Signature Flan, generous with rum. Alona-just-barely-made-a-B-in-math was feted with Mom’s Sour Cream Apple Pie, after devouring the infallible favorite, Rosemary-crusted Roasted Leg of Lamb, au jus.

My Culinary Compulsion presents a life deeply and deliciously lived, amid global, and gloriously homey cuisine, in all its sticky, luscious reality. Like the Slow-Cooked Brisket whose thick, rich sauce demands to be scooped up by a crusty baguette or the moist perfection of Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, these simple, time-tested recipes will beckon you kitchenwards, as these tales of life’s everyday trials and jubilations will keep you turning the pages.

At the helm of the kitchen, was Yolanda, her feisty Colombian nanny, with her cadre of women around the metal table, yakking about the secret to this sauce, or that woman’s marital woes. Amidst the steam of soup, soap opera stories and the chopping of tomatoes, Martinez hung by Yola’s side, spoon in hand, an oversized apron ‘round her waist, chopping and tasting, learning.

Martinez’s passion for cooking followed her; Barnard College, South Florida, motherhood, world travel with spoon and pen in hand, writing a blog on escapades with food and family, Culinary Compulsion, and a wide range of freelance culinary journalism lead, inevitably, to this book.

  • Alona’s stories are so endearingly honest and familiar, that even in the confluence of her vast cultural and ethnic influence–Israeli, Latino, American–they call to mind the reader’s own personal comforts and indulgences. Her recipes, though unique to her multicultural life, entice and relate to us all.” -Tara Mataraza Desmond, author of Full Belly: Good Eats for a Healthy Pregnancy, Choosing Sides: From Holidays to Every Day, 130 Delicious Recipes to Make the Meal, , and co-author of Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet.

    — Tara Mataraza Desmond

    Writer, cookbook author, recipe developer Books, Blog, Clips & Recipes, Instagram, Twitter

  • Alona,
    Thanks for sharing your book with me. This is a charming collection of exuberant food stories and recipes that invite you into the kitchen like a neighbor. It’s warm, personal, and the dishes look completely mouth-watering.

    And you can quote me on that!

    — Dave Joachim

    David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than 40 cookbooks, including the IACP Award-winning reference books, The Food Substitutions Bible and The Science of Good Food, which also won a World Gourmand Award for Best Food Literature Book, a Cordon d'Or Award for Best Culinary Reference Book, and was a finalist for both a World Food Media Award and a James Beard Award.

  • In My Culinary Compulsion Alona has accomplished what so many food writers dream of doing. He has collected a set of recipes, yes; but lovingly glided them with stories and vignettes from a life well-lived. Reading them, then putting them aside, you find yourself longing to have a glass of wine or cup of coffee with your amigo; the one that makes you shriek with laughter at the naughty stories, or swoon at the sweet ones. My Culinary Compulsion is more than a collection of recipes, it’s a beautiful homage to the people and the food she loves.

    — Jacqueline Church

    Culinary Consultant/Instructor

  • Witty and delectable, this culinary memoire enchants and delights! You’ll want to make every recipe.

    — Sandra A. Gutierrez

    author of Latin American Street Food

  • Alona packed this cookbook and memoir full of funny, sensuous, and rebellious stories and recipes. You’ll see that she has the ravenous, restless mind of a stay-at-home mom who might be a little bored. The recipes show how she loves to tinker and experiment with all kinds of food. The product of an Israeli father and an American mother, Alona grew up in Venezuela and settled in Miami to raise a family. So you get this heady mix of Latin food, mommy dishes, Middle Eastern food, French dishes inspired by restaurant meals, and travel-inspired dishes from around the world. You’ll also find a few Jewish holiday dishes in a chapter named Extra Holiday Pounds, which includes a recipe for Venezuelan Ham Bread. If you haven’t figured this out by now, My Culinary Compulsion is a delightful read.

    — Dianne Jacob

    author, Will Write for Food

Publications

Live

Want the sizzle live?  I’m available for book readings and signings, speaking engagements, interviews, conferences, and professional events.