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I just received the México the Beautiful Cookbook, and I have to say it is my favorite so far - plus it is the only one I've seen with a recipe for goat, which is one of my favorite dishes in Mexico. Thanks for recommending it!

That makes me happy, as this is the only Mexican cookbook I own!

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Jumping in late on this one...


I'm a big fan of the Rick Bayless books, especially Mexican Kitchen. In addition to the standard recipes I like his recurring "Simple Ideas from My American Home" sidebars, where he shows you how to use a master recipe in a gringo-y way... one of the salsas rojas makes a mean pot roast, for example.


I used to have his first book, Authentic Mexican, but I think it has been eliminated from my (now very compact) collection. Many of the recipes are revisited in Mexican Kitchen or/and One Plate at a Time... both of which I find much more inspirational in their design.


Through many rounds of purging, I have held onto Mexican Kitchen at the expense of others, and never regretted it.



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I thought that taking a break from all my worries sure would help a lot, and since I don't go to bars, I'll indulge myself here instead...


A few comments:


Bayless's books are pretty good. His cookbooks are better than his restaurants, imo. Mexican Kitchen and Authentic Mexican are both excellent for those who want decent context for their recipes. I think One Plate at a Time is a little forced with the traditional-contemporary dichotomy. (btw, if you look in my sig you'll see a link to Powell's clearance cookbooks. Bayless is regularly among them and last time I looked One Plate at a Time and Mexican Kitchen were both in there for under $13 new.)


I really like Kennedy newest, her Mexican Kitchen. It covers both ingredients and basic recipes very thoroughly. I also like My Mexico a lot. I've thought about getting Essential Cuisines, but one problem I have with her new editions is that she's updated them to make them "more healthy", etc. I'd rather have the original unhealthy versions, thanks. My search right now, though, is for the out of print, Art of Mexican Cooking. (Take that link and scroll down to the one inscribed with "22 December 1991 To Elizabeth, As i lie on my deathbed I ask that you be the one to carry on the mission of popularizing Mexican food in America-".) It's nearly impossible to find for under $50.


Poore's book is surprisingly decent. Not much description, but for someone who already knows the basics or has a book like Bayless's Authentic Mexican or Kennedy's Mexican Kitchen, the huge number of recipes is unbeatable. I often look to it first because I know it will have something to give me an idea. (Since I rarely cook exactly from a recipe.)


I'm glad someone mentioned Ortiz's book. Often even books that are supposed to cover the basics, like Authentic Mexican or Essential Cuisines, won't have the standards. But Ortiz's Mexican Cooking always seems to have them. (Same with her Latin American book and Caribbean book.) Here's another one where I bought an older edition, though. I don't trust the "New" one. (I also bought an older edition of the Joy of Cooking. I'm sick of this lighter/healthier updating of cookbooks. I know how to add less butter. Give it to me how it tastes best. I'll ruin it if I feel so inclined.)


I actually like coffee table cookbooks. I think photos are important in cooking and I own Mexico the Beautiful Cookbook. (Interestingly, Amazon has it for $55, but if you go into Borders -- an Amazon partner -- you can get it for $10, which is why I don't link to it.) I own another that's pretty interesting and hard to come by: Antojeria by Quintana, the only Quintana I own. (I've just never been tempted by the English language books for some reason.)


Zarela's Food From My Heart seems lame when I went through it so it's kept me from jumping at her books. But the Oaxaca cookbook is high on my list. Anyone got an opinion on the Veracruz cookbook?


Zaslavsky's is one of my absolute favorites. The recipes are excellent and many quite interesting. I'd love to see an updated version, but I used it with success on travels.


On northern Mexican, I like Peyton's books, both de la Frontera, which gives great context on Mexican-American cooking and el Norte, which covers the fronteras.


I like the Coe books a lot. I really enjoyed reading First Cuisines and felt like I learned a lot. In the same vein, I picked up an interesting book at Powell's: Pre-Hispanic Cooking by Anan M de Benitez. It's in Spanish and English. I'd love to find a comprehensive history of Mexican food since the conquest (would probably need to be in English).


btw, here's a comment from a friend in an email discussion on Mexican cookbooks:


Yes, I have seen the Quintana, and the book by Zaslavsky.  My ultimate

reference is Iturriaga's De tacos tortas y tamales which is the great original

source of virtually everything out there today (on the net etc) about this topic. 

I have mentioned this book many times in my posts.  It's dated of course, but

his taxonomy of forms is still without question the best one that there is out



Anyone familiar with it? There are used copies through Amazon.


Oh, one more thing: I, too, enjoy getting the magazines, such as Cocina Practica. Often great stuff.

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I have to agree on Rick Bayless' Mexican Kitchen, I like it too. Better than his first book, and I think that's usually the minority position. Most people prefer his first book. But of all his books, my favorite is Salsas That Cook, a little paperback. Short, sweet and too the point. One Plate at a Time is my least favorite of his books, though I have successfully cooked from it. His cajeta recipe in it is pretty good.


I do find, however, that my starting point is almost always Diana Kennedy. The flavor profiles on her recipes more closely matches my own tastes, plus her recipes are very sound. I've been able to standardize a lot of them to 100 servings for use in volume feeding situations. <Don't ask>. Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless both have very engaging and approachable writing styles (even if Rick is a little too wordy) and both explain things in way that is usually pretty understandable.


In the interest of full disclosure, I've also spent a week cooking with Rick Bayless (in Oaxaca), so I may be somewhat biased :blush: . I have to say he is without a doubt, hands down, an incredible educator. This is, IMNSHO, his strength, not his cooking, restaurants or books, it's his ability to teach. He speaks pretty much as he writes, but up close and personal you get all the voice inflections, verbal cues and body language that are lacking in writing. Plus, he is MUCH less over the top in person than on his PBS show, more real, less forced. Not only does he have an amazing level of knowledge, but what you get in person is the real passion he has for Mexico, it's art, it's people and it's food. That is definitely the real deal.


I've also taken a class with Marge Poore (she's in Marin County, CA). She is a lovely lady who spent a lot of years studying directly with Diana Kennedy and Marilyn Tausend. Marilyn is wonderful, BTW, as well.

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I'm sure there's lots of good info in RB's Mex Kitchen, but I find the technique and writing so schticky. This, along with the PBS show, really made me wonder about him. Then I got Authentic Mexican and I much prefer the more straightfoward style. And as I said, I even like One Plate at a Time.


I also met him. Very briefly in Italy at the Slow Food Terra Madre conference and he was very charming and relaxed and a "regular" guy.

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  • 1 month later...

I've been meaning to add my 2 cents for ages and ages. Digging out Brazilian and Latin American books spurred me on to dealing with the Mexicans as well:

  • Savoring Mexico by Sharon Cadwaller. Originally published 1980. A sort of travel guide with recipes that don't inspire me
  • The Mexican Stove: What to Put On It & In It by Richard Condon and Wendy Bennett (1973)
  • Cocina de la Familia: More Than 200 Authentic Recipes from Mexican-American Home Kitchens by Marilyn Tausend (1997). I haven't cooked from this but it looks a goodie
  • The Food & Drink of Mexico by George C. Booth. Originally published 1964 and one of the more interesting looking of the 'early' books in English on Mexican cooking
  • La Cocina Poblana - 5th edition, 1954. One of only 3 Mexican books from Mexico that I own, acquired years ago from a specialist British cookbook seller. A paperback printed on rotten quality paper with a lovely cover that has sadly fallen off. A large part of the book is generic Spanish-type cooking then suddenly it launches into the Mexican-Pueblan stuff. Difficult to cook from due to imprecise instructions, strange techniques taken for granted etc
  • Mexican Family Favorites Cook Book by Maria Teresa Bermudez. Published originally 1983. A rather nasty spiral bound thing that I seem to have acquired by mistake
  • Traditional Mexican Cooking and its Best Recipes by Adela Fernandez. Published originally in 1985. My only other Mexican Mexican book, in English & Spanish, brought back by a friend from Mexico. Dead boring
  • The Food & Life of Oaxaca by Zarela Martinez. The fact I don't have her Veracruz book is an annoyance
  • Mexican Kitchen by Rick Bayless. I'm afraid I got educated by Diana Kennedy before I ever heard of Bayless so he's never meant much to me as he does to others
  • Flavours of Mexico by Marlena Spieler (1991). An American cookbook author based in the UK who manages to churn them out. Never bad but I have reservations
  • Flavors of Mexico: Authentic Recipes from South of the Border by Angeles de la Rosa and C. Gandia de Fernandez (1978)
  • The Taste of Mexico by Patricia Quintana (1986). I think we've talked about her
  • El Norte: The Cuisines of Northern Mexico by James W. Peyton. He's done other regional Mexican books which I'd like to own
  • The Festive Food of Mexico by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz (1992). A slip of a book in a series. She was (I've a feeling she died not so long ago :lol:) the resident Latin American food expert in the UK
  • Mexican Cookery by Lourdes Nichols (1984). That rare creature, a native Mexican cookbook author based in the UK. In fact she started a successful tortilla business, La Mexicana, and her tortillas were available in the major supermarkets through the 90's. Then she sold the business to some big firm that took the corn tortillas off the market :lol:. You still see the La Mexicana brand for flour tortillas though. A basic, but sound book as is her later one below
  • Authentic Mexican Cooking by Rick Bayless (1987). There's at least one later book than those 2 I have but somehow I can't be bothered
  • Food From My Heart: Cuisines of Mexico Remembered and Reimagined by Zarela Martinez (1992). Her first book. I've cooked a certain amount from it but it hasn't left a lasting impression
  • Frida's Fiestas - I know I have this somewhere but can't lay my hands on it. A deceptive book that looks more style than content but this is not the case at all. Everything I've made from it has been excellent
  • The Tortilla Book by Diana Kennedy (1975). In the top handful of the world's greatest food educators, her importance to me is immeasurable
  • From My Mexican Kitchen by Diana Kennedy (2003). Her latest. Unavailable in the UK unless you buy from US Amazon or something like that. I bought mine when helping out at the BBC Good Food Show from those delightful people, Steenbergs
  • Mexican Regional Cooking by Diana Kennedy (1984). I think this and the next one have now been republished and revised as one volume which I don't have
  • The Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy (1972)
  • The Art of Mexican Cooking by Diana Kennedy (1989)
  • The Complete Mexican Cookbook by Lourdes Nichols (1995)
  • Cuisine of the Water Gods by Patricia Quintana (1994). Weird, disappointing book
  • Cantina: The Best of Casual Mexican Cooking by Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken (1997). In that series of books called 'Bistro', 'Taverna' etc. Not bad
  • The Complete Book of Mexican Cooking by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz. Originally published 1967. Quite good for its time
  • El Arte de la Cocina Practica by Patricia Quintana (1994). A book sponsored by a food company. I acquired it in a previous job where a Mexican food company was trying to get my boss to act as their agent in the UK
  • World Food Mexico (2000). One of those Lonely Planet food guides
  • Bocaditos: The Little Dishes of Mexico by Reed Hearon (1997)
  • Cooking with Too Hot Tamales by Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger (1997). Somewhere I have their Mesa Mexicana as well
  • Rosa Mexicano by Josefina Howard (1998). I haven't cooked from this book but enjoyed reading it a lot
  • Mexico The Beautiful Cookbook (1991). One of those super-size coffee table things but looks quite good
  • The Mexican Gourmet (1995). Another monster but a goodie as mentioned earlier in this thread


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Oh bugger, here's 3 more that got left out:

  • A Cook's Tour of Mexico by Nancy Zaslavsky (1995)
  • Seasons of My Heart by Susana Trilling (1999). I haven't cooked from this yet but plan to soon. It looks like a book after my heart and I find the criticisms of it on this board a little snarky and puzzling
  • Meatless Mexican Home Cooking by Nancy Zaslavsky (1997)


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OK, I'm going to use this thread for the rest of South America.


Sadly I only have 4 books specific to South American countries other than Brazil. This project of looking out what I have has proved useful (owning as many books as I do, I tend to forget about the specifics) and moves me to look for, in particular, books on Peruvian, Columbian and Venezuelan cooking. So, country-specific:

  • Gran Libro de la Cocina Argentina (1985)
  • How Argentina Cooks by Alberto Vazquez-Prego (1987) - in English & Spanish. Both this and the above book acquired on trips to Argentina
  • The Chilean Kitchen by Ruth Van Waerebeek-Gonzalez (1999). She has also written a nice book on Belgian cooking
  • Surinaams Kookboek by Line Karimbux (1986). Bought in Amsterdam in a fit of misplaced optimism that I might get the hang of reading Dutch


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Now on to Latin America/South America in general:

  • The Art of South American Cooking by Felipe Rojas-Lombardi (1991). A lovely book that just doesn't quite manage to cook as well as it looks. The author was a great up-and-coming chef in NY who died horribly young - AIDS I guess
  • Latin American Cookbook by Lynelle Tume (1979). Originally an Australian publication I think
  • The Book of Latin American Cooking by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz (1984). My favourite by far of all her books, it was important to me at a certain period
  • The South American Table by Maria Baez Kijac (2003). A very classy, comprehensive tome. Not cooked from yet, unfortunately
  • Fiesta by Anya von Bremzen (1997). Covers the whole 'Latin' thing, so includes Spain & Portugal as well
  • The South American Gentleman's Companion by Charles H. Baker, Jr (1951). A lovely book - well 2 volumes in slipcase. 1 volume for food, the second for drink. Full of character and I suspect quite rare now
  • The South American Cook Book by Cora, Rose & Bob Brown. Originally published in 1939
  • South American Cooking by Barbara Karoff (1989)
  • Leith's Latin American Cookery by Valeria V. Sisti (1996). Mentioned as disappointing earlier in this thread - I haven't cooked from it so can't comment
  • Latin American Cooking by Jonathan Norton Leonard (1968). One of the old Time Life series

Gaps in my collection include Douglas Rodriguez and Elizabeth Luard's relatively recent book focusing on Latin American ingredients.



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Then there's another category of book: Latin American cooking in the US - a quite specific genre:

  • Bistro Latino: Home Cooking Fired Up with the Flavors of Latin America by Rafael Palomino (1998)
  • Latin American Cooking Across the USA by Himilce Novas & Rosemary Silva (1997)
  • Celebracion: Recipes & Traditions Celebrating Latino Family Life by Regina Cordova (1996)

And a couple of oddballs:

  • Blue Corn & Chocolate by Elisabeth Rozin (1992). This is about the influence of 'New World' foods on American cooking - corn, chocolate, tomatoes, peppers etc
  • A Cozinha Descoberta pelos Portugueses by Maria Odette Cortes Valente (1989). This is on the cooking of the countries 'discovered' by the Portuguese, so there is a chapter on Brazil.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Just back from a really swell trip to Patzcuaro and Gudalajara with Cristina, jaymes and memesuze, all new pals from the web. The gloating will commence shortly, I expect, especially when I get it together for my photos. My computer's on the blitz.


But I did pick up lots of magazines and a few books. I thought the series Cocina Indigena y Popular was mentioned on this thread but I can't find it. These are a series of paperbacks on very specific regional kitchens. They're a good price (4-8 dollars each), full of recipes and perhaps most importantly, easy to read in Spanish!


I picked up these:


Recetatio de la Huasteca hidalguense

Cocina tradicional morelense

Recetario popu;ar coleto

Recetario popular de Campeche

Recetario indigena de Baja California

Recetario de pescados y mariscos de Sonora

Recetario indigena de Guerrero

Recetario zapotec del Istmo

Recetario menonita de Chihuahua (!)

Recetario mixteco poblano

Recetario del maiz

Recetario indigena de Chiapas

Las flores en la cocina mexicana

Recetario de la cuachala y la birria


There were over 50 titles in the series so you can see I wasn't completely indulgent. Oh well, maybe I was. I'm sure the others will share a few laughs about the amount of stuff I brough back.


Also found a bi-lingial Pre-Hispanic Cooking by Ana M. deBenitez. Only mildly interesting.

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Also found a bi-lingial Pre-Hispanic Cooking by Ana M. deBenitez. Only mildly interesting.

¡Welcome back, Señor!


I am barely up from a nap and thought your book was for bi-lingual Pre-Historic cooking.




I want to see the food porn, please.

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  • 2 months later...

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