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Mar 7, 2011 02:22 PM

best cookbook on tex-mex/ mexican american ??

I'm not even sure I am using the right term. I'm looking for a cookbook on the recognizable dishes in mexican-american cooking, not really looking for in depth regional mexican cooking (right now). What I want is something authoritative, something written by the mexican, non-union equivalent of marcella hazan. Maybe the mexican equivalent of lidia bastianich would be the better hypothetical. Regardless the picture of the author in the dust jacket should look like someone's granny.

Does something like this exist? There is so much crap out there in this area to wade through. Seriously why do cook books exist that list "can of enchilada sauce" as an ingredient? If i wanted to be lazy and eat something that tasted like garbage i would just go to On the Border.

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  1. Two suggestions, but neither one of the authors is Mexican. Diane Kennedy does a great job on traditional Mexican cooking in The Cuisines of Mexico. For a little more modern interpretation I'd vote for Rick Bayless. He has many cookbooks and his own website with lots of info.


      User friendly real deal and a pleasant read.

      The Pinto bean recipe changed my life.

      2 Replies
        1. re: laststandchili

          i just got this a few weeks ago and it really makes me miss home. I can't wait to try out so many things from this book.

        2. Do you want Mexican cooking explained in terms that an American cook can use? Or recipes for dishes that (loosely) fall in the category of Tex-mex cooking, i.e. cooking as done in Texas homes or Tex-Mex restaurants?

          What books are you using that call for cans of enchilada sauce?

          The Wiki article on Tex-Mex references a 6 part article in the Houston Press by Robb Walsh. This one, contrasting Mexican as described by Kennedy with Tex-Mex might be a good starting point

          See laststandchil's post for Walsh's book

          1. And Tex-Mex or Mexican-American?

            Only because Mexican-American in California is different than that in Texas, which is different still from that in Florida...

            (which is cool. diversity is good)

            2 Replies
            1. re: sunshine842

              I think broadly mexican-american. after looking at some "tex-mex" stuff I am pretty sure that isn't what i want. I am looking for something with dishes you can find in a good mexican restaurant in the states. if its got california/texas/where ever, that is fine. I really am hoping to find something that is written by a very matronly mexican lady though. as we all know, grandmas are the best cooks.

              as a short aside, i have this idea for a restaurant called "grandmas" that serves comfort food and all the servers are 60+ ladies. Instead of saying hello welcome to grandmas they tell you how tall you've gotten since they've seen you last and guilt you into calling more often.

              1. re: j8715

                "they tell you how tall you've gotten since they've seen you last and guilt you into calling more often."

                I lol'ed!! :D

            2. For Tex-Mex, I agree with the recommendation of the Walsh book. For a broader overview of Mexican-American cooking, consider these:


              I think the problem with your request is that on one hand you say you want dishes found in restaurants and on the other you say you want a book written by "somebody's grandmother". Well, the dishes served in restaurants are generally not the same one's that a grandmother would cook at home. So that's going to be a tough one. Perhaps if you gave examples of specific dishes you are looking for, we'd have a better idea of what you mean.

              3 Replies
              1. re: MelMM

                when i say restaurant dishes i really mean the dishes non mexicans would recognize. not looking for menudo recipes for example. i think "broader overview" is the way to describe it yes. i am trying really to describe the way marcella hazan writes, in a very detailed way. i want someone saying "this is how to handle tortillas, this is how to pick tomatillos, etc etc"

                both of your suggestions look pretty spot on by the way. thanks.

                1. re: MelMM

                  Second on the Border Cookbook. I have had this forever, and just love it. The basic beef chile recipe is a complete winner.