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Sep 28, 2007 06:37 AM

Authentic mexican/southwestern cookbook?

I'm looking to purchase 1 authentic mexican/southwestern cookbook. Is there something comparable to the joy of cooking or bittmans how to cook everything where it is the know all best and covers pretty much everything? Does Rick Bayless have anything like this maybe?

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  1. Like most countries there are many cuisines of Mexico; in fact the Wikipedia article says some people consider the cuisine of Mexico to be exceeded only by Chinese in the scope of its variations. Then, of course, southwestern (US) cuisine has many variations, too. There is Cal-Mex, New Mex-Mex, Tex-Mex, probably also Arizona-Mex. Any book that covers 'pretty much everything' would have to me multi-volume, it seems to me.

    For an introduction to authentic Mexican with lots of notes about regional variations (within Mexico) you might consider the groundbreaking Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy, published in 1973. I have Authentic Mexican by Bayless and and it too has lots of comments on regional variations. I like it too but whether it's his most comprehensive or not, I don't know. As for the various regional (Southwestern US) variations I have a couple of Tex-Mex books but something tells me that's not what you're really looking for.

    1. I own and love the Rick Bayless book you speak of. It is multiregional and quite detailed. I can't think of an English language Mexican cookbook that compares.

      I know you requested a book, but there is this excellent website called Mexconnect that is just too great not to mention:

      1 Reply
      1. re: luckyfatima

        I have several of his books and they are my favorites. I would recommend RB's books in a heartbeat. The Authentic one has a lot of additional information and tips.

      2. In a used bookstore I found a coffee table book in the 'The Beautiful Cookbook' series that covers all of Mexico. Actually, there's a version that combines the Mexico and the Texas volumes. There are a lot of recipes that go well beyond the 'tacos and tortillas', as well as descriptions of various regions and their foods. I wouldn't pay full price for one of these volumes, but at clearance prices they are worth buying (if you have shelf space).


        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          Mexico the Beautiful was written by Marilyn Tausend who is equally as good as Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless in terms of her skill and knowledge. In spite of the fact it's a coffee table book, the recipes are quite good and they turn out well.

        2. IMO for Mexican, Diane Kennedy and Rick Bayless' book (they each have several) can't be topped.

          1. If you're looking for homestyle cooking, I'd like to add a different recommendation -- "Cocina de la Familia" by Marilyn Tausend is highly rated on Amazon. I own it, and although I've yet to cook anything from it, it looks pretty comprehensive. If you order it on Amazon, make sure you're ordering the English language version, there's a Spanish version also.