Reviews — By Ben on 23 September 2008
Book Review – Mexican Cooking

Mexican food is many times misunderstood even by Mexican people themselves. That’s why I am always looking for opportunities to learn more about the diverse and colorful cuisine of my country. I always keep my eyes open for cookbooks that might teach me something. That’s how I came across Mexican Cooking. The Authentic Taste of Mexico: 150 Fiery Classic and Regional Recipes Shown in 250 Stunning Photographs by Jane Milton browsing cookbooks at the library.

In the introduction, Milton writes about Mexican food historical influences. “In pre-Colombian Mexico”, she writes, “there was already an established pattern of agriculture. [...] When the Spanish arrived they tried and enjoyed local dishes made with corn, chillies, beans, tomatoes and chocolate.” The Spanish, in turn, had a tremendous influence in Mexican cooking. They brought livestock, dairy products, seeds, citrus fruits, wheat, rice, onions and many other products that lead to an even more diverse range of dishes.

But the influence didn’t stop there. Throughout the centuries (and countless foreign invasions) Mexican cuisine has adopted new ingredients and techniques that have enriched it even further. One of my favorite sections of Milton’s book was the Desserts and drinks one. She writes that “Mexicans have a very sweet tooth. Ever since Hernan Cortez introduced sugar cane to the country, sweetmeats have been very much on the menu and the array of cakes and pastries in a Mexican pasteleria would rival any display in a European cake shop.”

Most of the Mexican food cookbooks I’ve read don’t have a big dessert and drinks section. This one, however, dedicates page after page to many desserts I grew up eating and many others that I haven’t even heard of before. There is even the recipe for rompope (an egg, milk and rum drink very popular among Mexican kids, yes, you read me right, an alcoholic beverage for kids)

This cookbook is a really good source of authentic Mexican recipes for your collection. Check it out and if you like Mexican cuisine (and even if you don’t), I am sure you are going to find more than one recipe you will want to try.

¡Buen provecho!

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About Author

grew up around food. His family owned a restaurant in Mexico City and he spent a big deal of his childhood helping and learning after school the art of creating delicious dishes from simple ingredients. He created this blog to share his kitchen adventures with the world.

(10) Readers Comments

  1. This looks great Ben…and the photos look amazing!

  2. I love the book cover, are they burritos? And alcohol for kids??????Ben! you must have enjoyed as a mexican kid :)

  3. Thanks for letting us discover a new and interesting book! I’m going to add it to my list of books to buy! I love Mexican food!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. must be a really nice book. I liked all the historical references you have quoted in your review.

  5. Oye Ben, no a todos los niños les dan rompope!! jajaja! eso es generalizar demasiado!! jeje! :)

    Saludos y a ver si veo el libro, se lee interesante! :)

  6. This looks like a great book – I’m adding it to my amazon wish list!

  7. I like that there is an alcoholic drink for kids :)

  8. Great review Ben. You know me, I love our cultures cooking. I’ll have to look for this book to add to my collection. Do you know if Milton ever lived in Mexico? I hpe so. What a great experience to live the culture and appreciate the food.

  9. That’s one to put on my amazon wish list! I love Mexican food (although what I’ve had probably wouldn’t pass muster with you or Teresa!) but I never know what “authentic” Mexican food is meant to taste like.

  10. The book sounds good to me. Still lost in the tomes of Rick Bayless and Diana Kennedy but wouldn’t mind another book on Mexican Cookery.

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