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In 10 years' time, says Raichlen, "I've watched Miami blossom from a gastronomic backwater to a culinary hot spot." Here, Cuban, Nicaraguan, French Caribbean, Iberian, Chinese, Deep South and Jewish cuisines meet but remain distinct, each taking advantage of abundant and inexpensive tropical produce (and 12 months of barbecue weather a year), while avoiding others; Cuban and Nicaraguan kitchens, for instance, still ignore the ubiquitous seafood. Raichlen's lively immersion in this confusion of ethnic food introduces the traditional Caribbean starchy roots, such as yucca, yam and boniato, as well as the typical tropical fruits and recent exotic introductions, like the lychee nut. Also present: several formulas for preparing alligator--savory and healthy, but often tough--and even an address from which to mail-order the frozen meat. Raichlen's style is amiable and chatty, and procedures are detailed and sensitive ("gently simmer for 10 minutes, or until the oil begins to bead on the surface of the sauce. This indicates that the water has evaporated, concentrating the flavor of the sauce"). The thick volume conveys a sense of authenticity throughout, although the author sometimes reveals an ignorance of the historical development of Caribbean cuisines (i.e., the discussion of tamales reveals a Mexican bias).
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Cooking teacher and author Raichlen's most recent book is High-Flavor, Low-Fat Cooking ( LJ 11/15/92); now he turns to the zesty, eclectic, evolving cuisine of southern Florida. The large Cuban and Latin American populations in the area have changed the region's food, and Miami's restaurant scene is hopping. Floridians have always enjoyed plentiful fish and seafood, and a wide array of exotic produce is increasingly available as well. Raichlen's fresh, flavorful, and lively recipes range from Yuca Fritters to West Indian Pumpkin Soup to Conch Chile to Coconut Souffle. Fun and unusual, this is recommended for most collections.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.