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Aug 9, 2007 08:23 AM

Great Spanish cookbook?

Hi, I'm looking for a great, serious Spanish cookbook. It could be either a general guide to the cuisine like Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking or Wolfert's book on the cooking of Southwest France or a good restaurant-oriented book like Keller's Bouchon or the Balthazar cookbook.

I'm having trouble finding one that's not dumbed-down or overly Americanized. (but perhaps I'm being redundant :-).

Recommendations for a similar Portuguese cookbook also appreciated.
Thanks for your help.

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  1. I don't know if it's authentic, but I cooked 2 recipes from it and I loved it. "La Cocina de Mama" by Penelope Casas

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sugarshoc

      Thanks. Just checked this one out at Amazon. It sounds like a great book, and also led me to a different, older book by the same author called "The food and wine of Spain" that looks like it might be exactly what I was looking for.

    2. I have really enjoyed cooking from "The New Spanish Table", by Anya von Bremzen. It has a nice little intro on the different regions of Spain, then chapter headings are: tapas, soup, salads, eggs, empanadas, seafood, meat (pork, lamb, beef), poultry and game, beans and potatoes, rice and pasta, vegetables, and dessert. Really, an excellent cookbook. Everything I've made from it has been great (and there's a lamb recipe in there that turned even my lamb-hating father around).

      2 Replies
      1. re: jacinthe

        I just bought this one online a few weeks ago and, while I haven't made anything from it yet, I was a bit disappointed - mostly with the format. I didn't care for the newspaper-column layout or the Wired magazine color scheme, both of which I found distracting. In terms of the content, I read a couple recipes that started wonderfully, talking about a "little cafe in such-and-such that serves the very best X in Spain", followed by a short recipe of the authors that didn't seem all that remarkable. Sounds like I need to give it a chance and try some of the recipes. Thanks.

        1. re: ljw7

          I have this one, too, and I've been disappointed. I've made only two recipes from there, but both were huge disappointments. I couldn't even get my husband to eat seconds, let alone leftovers.

      2. The Food of Portugal by Jean Anderson, originally published in the late 80s, is now in paperback and available very inexpensively on Amazon.

        Jean Anderson isn't a familiar name to most non-professionals, but she's the author of many well-regarded cookbooks including the Doubleday Cookbook (a legitimate rival of The Joy of Cooking) and the truly excellent but little-known Jean Anderson Cooks. She spent many years in Portugal and this book reflects her love of the country. It's not new, but it's probably still the best Portuguese cookbook around.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JoanN

          Just checked this out on Amazon and it looks wonderful! Thanks.

        2. Penelope Casas's first book, The Foods and Wines of Spain, is a classic, and covers all the basics. You might want to start with that before exploring her other books covering tapas, paella, regional cooking, etc.

          For Portuguese cooking, JoanN mentioned Jean Anderson. That's my go-to book. For a Portuguese-North American variation, I enjoy Portuguese Homestyle Cooking by Ana Patuleja Ortins. Her recipes accurately reflect the kind of food you'd find in Portuguese homes here (well, at least from my own experience in Toronto, anyway).

          1. In the Home Cooking board, the group is considering whether to cook in September 2007 from Penelope Casas' "Food and Wine of Spain". You should look at those posts.