My Mexico Hardcover – 1 Nov 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
Most people don't know that mexican food is not only tacos, enchiladas or guacamole we have so many other things that are just delicious.
Diana Kennedy is a great writer and some of her stories made me cry because I miss Mexico so much. I just hope she keeps writing about my beautiful country.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I have reviewed Ms. Kennedy's ninth book, `From My Mexican Kitchen', which I consider a real gem among treatises on the techniques of national cuisines. It goes into various techniques, especially baking, on which Ms. Kennedy is a certifiable expert, to a level of detail that one rarely sees in other books. The current book under consideration is much different from the later volume and should expect to find a much narrower audience.
`My Mexico' is a personal culinary diary, with echos of a John Steinbeck `Travels With Charley' air about it. Like many other culinary surveys, it is organized by Mexican province rather than by type of dish. And, unlike Ms. Casas' excellent `Delicioso!' culinary geography of Spain, with lots of interesting summaries of characteristics of the various regions, Ms. Kennedy is purely the tourist in this book, dwelling on the specific people and places and dishes she encounters in her travels throughout Mexico.
As an aside, I will add the opinion that Ms. Kennedy seems to find much ugliness in the urban development, congestion, lack of good highways, and disappearance of natural beauty in her beloved Mexico. The recitation of changes she finds distasteful make one wonder how her affection for the country survives the uncontrolled and somewhat corrupt development in Mexico. But then, she talks about the food and all seems forgiven.
As someone who is not nearly as familiar with Mexico as I have come to be of Italy, France, Germany, or England, the first thing I miss is a good map. This absence is especially noisome as this is about culinary geography, regardless of how personal. The second thing I miss is a listing of recipes by type of dish. As all recipes in the text are located by region or state, many of whose names are unknown to me, a listing by primary ingredient or course in the style of most cookbooks would make this book much more valuable to the novice to Mexican food. The book does include an alphabetical listing of recipes, but since it is alphabetical by Spanish name, it doesn't do me much good. I can barely find my way around culinary Italian, let alone Spanish. My study of German does little good in the largely Latin world of culinary diversity.
This is the kind of book that will be enjoyed primarily by people who already know and love Mexico. I get the picture of such readers being hobbits at Bilbo Baggins 111th birthday party with their feet up on the table and nibbling to fill in the odd, empty corners of their generous stomachs. This is the book for people who would not learn much from yet another book of familiar Mexican recipes. I would get pleasure out of a similar book on German or Austrian cuisine as I have been to many places in Germany and I believe there are not enough books concentrating on Austro-Hungarian cuisine.
Ending on a positive note, I relish the discovery in this book of a culinary treatment of cuitlacoche (on page 456), the fungus that grows on corn and which I understand it is a great delicacy in Mexico. I have been familiar with this foul looking stuff for many years, but I first encountered its culinary interest on the very first Food Network `Iron Chef America' show pitting Bobby Flay against Sr. Bayless of Frontera Grill. I was really rooting for Bayless, who lost by a single point to Flay, and I was left wondering, with Alton Brown, who was the brave soul who first looked at the stuff as something good to eat. Well, Ms. Kennedy fills us in on the subject.
Highly recommended for all who can't get enough of books about Mexican food. For all other, check out Ms. Kennedy's other books.