When I hear people refer to places like Chipotle and Mad Mex as Mexican restaurants, I always cringe a bit. Cheese dip and burrito bowls just aren’t Mexican food. Even though I’m from the northeastern part of the U.S., I am lucky enough to know what the real stuff looks and tastes like, and I can safely say, there’s no comparison.
That is why I was intrigued by the title of this book, Truly Mexican. There have been so many times that I have opened a “Mexican” cookbook only to be disappointed by its content and recipes. So, when I saw this book, I wanted to see what it had to offer.
Author and chef, Roberto Santibañez, is a native of Mexico City and a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. He writes that his love for cooking began when he was young. His grandmother taught him that great food preparation doesn’t necessarily begin with a recipe. It is precisely this idea that weaves together the content of this book so nicely. Roberto’s philosophy is that once you are familiar with the basic techniques and ingredients, you can adapt, adjust, and even create your own recipe to suit your taste buds.
He mentions the importance of quality ingredients and of cooking with your senses. He explains that his recipes are just estimations and that you need to use your own judgement when deciding whether or not a chile is nicely toasted or a salsa needs more salt. He provides the essentials and gives you the opportunity to experiment.
The photos in this book also make it a fantastic resource. Some pictures show you what the ingredients should look like, while others display the steps of a recipe. I appreciated the series of photos demonstrating how to make a corn tortilla.
The book has 7 main chapters: Basics, Salsas, Guacamoles, Adobos, Moles & Pipianes, More Ideas for Using Mexican Sauces, and Sides. For me, the book as a sort of artist’s palette. Roberto provides the basics, and you create your masterpiece. I would recommend Truly Mexican to the adventurous cook or anyone who is looking to learn that about authentic Mexican cooking–its ingredients, techniques, textures, and flavors.
Title: Truly Mexican
Author: Roberto Santibañez
Publication Date: 2011