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Mar 4, 2009 04:37 AM

Mexican Cookbooks

I'm having a hard time deciding between Rick Bayliss "Authentic Mexican" and Diana Kennedy "The Art of Mexican Cooking"...they have both received excellent reviews. I don't mind labor intensive recipes but would like a book with a good mix of authentic and some simple dishes to do. Thanks for the input!

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  1. I've had Kennedy's "The Cuisines of Mexico" for years and have had good results with both simple and more complex recipes, but I don't have anything by Bayliss so I can't compare them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BobB

      Here is a sampling of some Bayless recipes for you to look at:

      1. re: danhole

        From a quick scan of that site I'd say Kennedy is more traditional (I hesitate to say "authentic") Mexican and Bayless a bit more modern and adventurous. But that may just be his restaurants, not his cookbook.

    2. I like and own both. Both are good for complex/harder and also some quick/simple recipes. Splurge and get both.

      1. I'm personally unfamiliar with Kennedy's book, but I use Rick Bayliss's "Mexican Kitchen" all the time. Not only have I learned Mexican cooking techniques from it (we just took a cooking class in San Miguel de Allende where everything they taught I had learned from Bayliss's book), but he does a good job of offering lots of variations that suit lots of conditions and the availability of various ingredients. I'm a fan.

        4 Replies
        1. re: chicgail

          I used to watch his PBS show "Mexico, One Plate at a Time" (is that right?) which I always found informative and fascinating.

          1. re: chicgail

            I second the recommendation for Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen. One feature I love is some very simple recipes and techniques for Americanized Mexican food (The "From my American Kitchen" blurbs) in addition to the more traditional recipes, which means I'm more likely to pick up this book on a weeknight and for everyday cooking. I think this book is very user friendly, and the recipes are terrific.


            1. re: Amuse Bouches

              If you want a Bayless cookbook with simple/easy technique and recipes, check out his "Salsas That Cook". It's a skinny little book but really well done. The front section has 10 or 12 basic salsa recipes that are scaled for different yields. With each one he then provides substitutions and other suggestions for varying them a bit. The second part of the book is 50 recipes, all (except the desserts) of which use at least one of the basic salsas from the front section of the book as an ingredient.

              This is actually my favorite Rick Bayless cookbook because it is an elegantly simple and approachable cookbook and introduction to Mexican cooking. I usually recommend it to Mexican cooking novices for that reason.

              1. re: DiningDiva

                You're right. It's excellent. I make up big batches of the various salsas in the summer when good tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers are available and freeze them in 1 C. to 2C. portions.

          2. It depends on what you want - Diana Kennedy's recipes are a reflection of her years in Mexico, and tend to be more traditional. But, I love Rick Bayless's approach to using traditional methods using available ingredients and how he details "traditional" vs. "contemporary" methods in his companion book to his show Mexico One Plate at a Time (book has the same name IIRC). This way, you can see what the traditional method is, but then actually cook the contemporary method when you lack time. Also, I recommend Mexican Everyday, which is a quick and simple recipe guide, but has some really phenomenal dishes in it.

            1. It's a hard choice :-). I have all of Diana Kennedy's book except one and all of Rick's books except one. "The Art of Mexican Cooking" is probably my most used and most tatter cookbook. While I own "Authentic Mexican", I have cooked more frequently out of Rick's "Mexican Kitchen" cookbook. The recipes in both books are pretty solid, meaning that the ingredients, measurements and cooking instructions are pretty accurate. Both will also give you very detailed methods and instructions.

              Diana is a traditionalist, Rick takes a somewhat more global view in that he understands that nothing is frame frozen in time and dishes and recipes continually evolve. I cook A LOT of Mexican food and travel a lot in Mexico. My personal preference is for Diana Kennedy, but really, you can't go wrong with either one.