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.