Authentic mexican/southwestern cookbook?
- trev80 Sep 28, 2007 06:37 AM
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?
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.
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:
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).
IMO for Mexican, Diane Kennedy and Rick Bayless' book (they each have several) can't be topped.
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.
Second or third the recommendation for Rick Bayless' Authentic Mexican. It's pretty comprehensive (I'd compare it more to Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian or Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking than to an encyclopedic book like Joy of Cooking) and everything I've made out of it has been delicious.
Patricia Quintana has some good books as well.
Diana Kennedy's "My Mexico" or "The Art of Mexican Cooking" are probably your best bet. They are both pretty comprehensive and have lots of good detail and information in them explaining ingredients and methods.
Rick Bayless' "Mexican Kitchen" is my perferred coice. His first book "Authentic Mexican" was recently reissued and also a very good cookbook.
I've studied with Diana and Rick and both are very good and both their recipes are structurally very sound, meaning they'll "work" or turn out almost every time. I think it's a matter of taste or preference which one you choose or like better. It's hard for me to choose between them.
In addition to having great cookbooks ("Mexican Everyday" is nice too, by the way, and helpful for his analysis of the difference between authentic home food and "fancy" feast food normally written up in cookbooks) Rick Bayless is definitely worth watching -- most PBS stations have his show on the weekend, it seems.
Has anyone read any of Zarela Martinez' books? I saw her on Martha where she said as her gift to her customers, to celebrate 20 years of her NYC restaurant, she is posting instructional cooking videos on youtube.