¡Feliz 2014! When it comes to reading material, some of my favorite books are actually cookbooks. As you can see, my bookshelf is stocked with a healthy amount of them. I’ve decided to do a series of mini-posts on some of my favorite cookbooks related to Mexican cuisine.
We’ll start with Diana Kennedy’s From My Mexican Kitchen: Techniques and Ingredients. This was my very first cookbook related to authentic Mexican food. I had just come back from my first trip to Mexico, a summer study abroad in Puebla, and I was eager to duplicate so many of the spectacular dishes I had tried there. (You have to realize that before that time I had never experienced REAL Mexican food. I hate to say it, but in my earlier days I defined all tacos as hard shelled tortillas filled with ground meat, lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes.)
After much digging at the library, I came across the works of Diana Kennedy–the goddess of Mexican cuisine. She quickly became my go-to resource on all Mexican cooking matters, and this book was my compass. I began to learn more about each ingredient, its characteristics and history.
Each chapter is devoted to a specific group of ingredients. For example, there is a fundamental chapter on fresh and dried chiles and one on cooking fats and oils. But my favorite chapters by far are, “Cheese and Cream,” “Making Antojitos,” and “Utensils.” I love that she provides a simple recipe to go with each category. She tells you how to make queso fresco and explains how to render your own lard. These recipes and techniques are so important when trying to recreate authentic flavor. This book continues to be one of my favorites because of its simple, yet detailed explanations of how ingredients should look, feel, taste, and act.
I would highly recommend From My Mexican Kitchen to both new and experienced cooks looking to learn more about classic Mexican ingredients. Diana has a wealth of culinary and historical knowledge of Mexico, and I feel that this book is a culminating project of much of her life research.
Let me know which Diana Kennedy books you love!
Author: Diana Kennedy
Publication Date: 2003