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My Mexico: A Culinary Odyssey with More Than 300 Recipes [Hardcover]

Diana Kennedy
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 20 1998
"Why my Mexico?" asks Diana Kennedy in her introduction to this long-awaited book. The answer is simple and obvious: it is a highly personal book about the Mexico she knows. And no one knows Mexico the way Diana does.     When Diana Kennedy first came to Mexico more than forty years ago, she did not intend to become the country's premier gastronome. But that is what she has become, traveling endlessly, learning the culinary histories of families, hunting elusive recipes, falling under the spell of the beauty of a countryside that produces such a wealth of foods. She has published five books and is referred to variously as the Julia Child, the Escoffier, and the high priestess of Mexican cooking. Most important, she has taken as her eternal project to record not only the wealth of Mexican culinary knowledge and folklore but also the fascinating stories behind it all.

My Mexico records Diana's recent wanderings, along with memories stored away from previous trips.    With wondrous, novelistic prose, Diana tells the story behind her discovery of each dish, from the Pollo Almendrado (Chicken in Almond Sauce) she discovered in Oaxaca to the Estafado de Raya (Skate Stewed in Olive Oil) that delighted her in Coahuila. Yes, there are some fairly simple recipes for inexperienced cooks--look for the new guacamoles and the addictive chilatas. More complicated ones are for aficionados who know the intricacies of the ingredients.      

Times have changed greatly since Diana published her first book. More and more ingredients are available in the U.S., and  more and more people have learned of the true joys of real Mexican cooking. One thing has not changed--Diana Kennedy's passion. For those who already are familiar with her work, this volume is a much-needed addition to your library. For those who are not, you are in for a treat of the first order.

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Every country should have a Diana Kennedy, someone steeped in its culture and cooking who cruises around recording all the local recipes and sharing them with the world. My Mexico is Kennedy's rambling record of forays in pursuit of dishes that might be of interest. Based on the recipes she found, such as Posole de Camarone, a brothy shrimp and dried-corn stew, sweet Green Mango Roll, and tiny new potatoes cooked Shepherd style, Kennedy's travels have been quite fruitful.

Anyone may enjoy the wealth of recipes in this book, but only connoisseurs of Mexican cooking familiar with the varied and regional nature of its food are likely to appreciate the unusual nature of Kennedy's finds. Concentrating on what is unique, the author refers readers to her previous five works on Mexico for fundamental techniques or other background. Even the method for making masa in My Mexico is an uncommon one, presented to Kennedy by the woman who waters her plants.

This literate work is rich in almost novelistic descriptions. Long passages describe her graphic observations. She shares her love of the country where she has lived since 1957 with equal measures of loving passion and curmudgeonly criticism.

Charts and photos help show the variety of chiles and other foods that help give Mexican cooking its constant, often subtle variety. When recipes call for pulque, a mildly fermented juice from the agave plant, sour tunas, a kind of cactus fruit, or other ingredients you can't get, move on to her more accessible dishes or, as Kennedy did, let this book be a journey of discoveries. --Dana Jacobi

From Publishers Weekly

In a deeply knowledgeable celebration of the diverse regional cuisines of Mexico, acclaimed gastronome Kennedy (The Cuisines of Mexico, etc.) presents a tour de force, with the emphasis on authenticity. She incorporates family heirloom recipes (e.g., Sra. Redondo's Steamed Tacos Filled with Vermicelli; the Andrea Family's Stuffed Ancho Chiles) with traditional signature dishes of various locales, as well as adaptations of restaurant favorites and classics collected over her 40-year sojourn south of the border. Kennedy divides chapters by geographical region and takes readers on a meandering culinary journey, replete with detailed accounts of local topography, seasons, sights, sounds and scents. Departing from the didactic tone and careful organization of her previous works, Kennedy dispenses with in-depth discussions on ingredients, equipment and technique, referring readers instead to her The Art of Mexican Cooking. While there are condiments like Salsa Verde, Guacamole of Jerez and Jalape?o Chile Relish that even inexperienced cooks can easily render, the recipes, most of which are laborious and involve hard-to-find ingredients, speak largely to well-traveled culinary aficionados or Mexican expats eager to replicate foods of their homeland (e.g., creamy, cheesy Zucchini Michoacan Style; pastry turnovers like Gorditas from Hidalgo; Oaxacan Squash Vine Soup). This book is as much a work of cultural anthropology as it is a recipe reference. Color photos not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is the most intensely personal of Diana Kennedy's books about authentic Mexican cooking. Critics who are not knowledgeable about this subject often complain that her recipes are too complicated. That, I believe, is an excuse for laziness. Are books on authentic and regional French, Indian, Italian, Moroccan, etc. cooking similarly criticized. That is unfair and doesn't give ample credit to the culinary richness of the many parts of Mexico. No one is more accurate and true to her subject than Diana Kennedy. Little wonder that the cookbook awards (the IACP & The Jas. Beard awards) all too often miss the point but the real and lasting award is always a book's "shelf life" and being a perpetual reference. My Mexico is not only a fine, carefully researched and accurate cookbook of Mexico's culinary complexity but an excellent, informative and interesting read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Check it out at the library first March 29 2001
Format:Hardcover
Go to the library first and compare this with Mrs. Kennedy's other cookbooks before spending your hard-earned $. Diana has written much better cookbooks. It has good assortment of recipes accompanied by rambling text. There are no photographs of the finished recipes to guide a novice cook or one with no experience preparing true Mexican cuisine. Colorful, festive presentation is an essential part of authentic Mexican Cuisine. I recommend buying "Savoring Mexico" by Marilyn Tausend or "The Mexican Gourmet" by Maria Dolores Torres Yzabal. (Both make beautiful gifts andd also recommend where to find the more unusual ingredients in the recipies.)
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By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I my self have stayed for months at a time in the state of Guerrero and Puebla. I know that the recipies that Diana Kennedy have shared here are exactley how food is eaten and prepared in these southern regions of the country, and I also first hand how frustrating it is to find ingredients that are similar here in the states, it is almost impossiable the further you are away from the boarder. Thank you for a book that aides me in cooking foods that are dream come true for my husband from the state of Guerrero, he loves me even more now!
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Cookbook July 15 2001
Format:Hardcover
I have been very pleased with my edition of My Mexico. The book is filled with so many recipes. The recipes span a wide range of Mexican cooking. She writes with great detail regarding the background of the recipes as well as giving very detailed instructions. This isn't the book filled with Tex Mex recipes that we are so often used to, but, authentic Mexican cooking. Of books produced in the recent years that cover this topic, I have enjoyed this book the most.
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