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From My Mexican Kitchen: Techniques and Ingredients Hardcover

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From My Mexican Kitchen: Techniques and Ingredients + The Art of Mexican Cooking + The Essential Cuisines of Mexico
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (September 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609607006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609607008
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Diana Kennedy published her first cookbook in 1972. It was about Mexican food. She has been learning more and writing more ever since. From My Mexican Kitchen takes the reader by the hand and explores the indigenous ingredients that make Mexican food come alive, as well as the techniques handed down through the centuries for the right way to handle those ingredients. It's a book to combine with another, Kennedy's The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, for example.

The chapter headings include: "Cheeses and Cream"; "Cooking Fats and Oils"; "Fresh and Dried Chiles"; "Fresh and Dried Herbs"; "Vegetables, Beans, and Fruits"; "Meat, Poultry, and Seafood"; "Rice and Pasta"; "Making Antojitos"; "Making Moles"; "Making Table Sauces"; "Making Tamales"; "Making Tortillas"; "Making Vinegar"; "Making Yeast Breads"; and "Utensils". You'll find precise descriptions of ingredients as well as glowing illustrations, the techniques you need to prep any ingredients, and classic recipes to pull it all together. There's also a glossary of cooking terms and sources for various ingredients.

This is a beautifully laid out and illustrated reference text. Probably no one but Diana Kennedy could produce such a book, in English. Her voice, as ever, is clear and demanding, her instructions thorough and determined. She's a true instructor. Trust yourself to her care and you can rest assured that the foods you produce will be as close to the real thing as anyone working in print media can get you. It's Diana Kennedy's magic at work. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

Kennedy has often been termed the Julia Child of Mexican cuisine, and the comparison is almost inescapable in this competent, humorous and balanced guide to the techniques needed to create foods indigenous to Mexico. Kennedy, acclaimed author of three other standard-setting Mexican cookbooks, has been studying the country's food since 1957 and now lives there for much of the year. In the first part, the book focuses on ingredients, while the second part focuses on techniques, and both have recipes interspersed throughout. One of the fine qualities that Child and Kennedy share is a judicious outlook on fat: Kennedy instructs readers to "forget about cholesterol when you are next having breakfast in a Mexican market" and indulge in natas, a form of clotted cream. A comprehensive chapter on the many types of chiles could almost stand alone as a primer on the topic, and another on beans offers recipes for several types of refried beans, including Yucatecan Sieved Beans. In the introduction to a chapter on mole in the techniques section, Kennedy corrects the misperception that it's a kind of "chocolate sauce," and then she goes on to provide instructions for Mole Poblano and Mole Verde. The more complicated recipes are accompanied by useful step-by-step photographs, but it's Kennedy's no-nonsense tone that makes her both a trusted guide and a delight to read. This volume is encyclopedic in the sense that it is fantastically complete, but it is also utterly reader-friendly because it is so highly personal and helpfully detailed.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Diana Southwood Kennedy went to Mexico in 1957 to marry Paul P. Kennedy, the foreign correspondent for the New York Times. In 1969, at the suggestion of Craig Claiborne, she began teaching Mexican cooking classes and in 1972 published her first cookbook. She has been decorated with the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor bestowed on foreigners by the Mexican government. She lives much of the year in her ecological adobe house in Michoacan, Mexico, which also serves as a research center for Mexican cuisine.

Customer Reviews

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The book is much more than a collection of recipes.
B. Marold
This one is a wonderful companion to all the others, showing and discussing ingredients and techniques in patient detail.
Gentle Reader
If you love to read, experiment and cook great mexican foods, I highly recommend this book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 118 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on November 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Diana Kennedy's new book on Mexican cooking is the gold standard for books on country / regional cuisines. The credit to Ms. Kennedy is enhanced by the fact that the material in the book was quite plainly not written and produced by a team. The depth of the material is exceptional, considering the fact that Mexican cuisine is as broad and as regionally diverse as the more widely storied cuisines of Italy and France.

The book is much more than a collection of recipes. In many ways, it is a Larousse Gastronomique for Mexico, with all of the weight of authority that name carries,including sections on:

Menus - A small section, very informative for Mexican newbies, but not very deep.
Ingredients - All sections are deep and rewarding.
- Dairy
- Fats
- Chiles
- Herbs
- Vegetables and Fruits
- Meats
- Grains (Rice and Pasta)
- Seasonings
Techniques - Exceptional, doubly so because it includes both weights and metric units of measure.
- Antojitos
- Moles
- Table Sauces
- Tamales
- Tortillas
- Vinegar
- Yeast Breads
Utensils Native to Mexico - Some blemishes here. See below
Mexican Food Terms - Some blemishes.
Sources of Ingredients - By state in the US.

Note that unlike the situation with French and Italian ingredients, Ms. Kennedy generally has a low opinion of the quality of Mexican ingredients available in the United States. This makes it doubly useful that she has provided the means of making several of these base ingredients in the home.

As Diana points out in the introduction, she is both the food stylist and the hand model for all of the excellent photographs by Michael Calderwood. The photographs clearly enhance the value of the book.
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Format: Hardcover
Words cannot do justice to my high opinion of this outstanding cooking resource. Ms. Diana Kennedy (whom I already held in high esteem as the Julia Child of authentic Mexican cuisine) has outdone herself. She not only answered every unanswered question I had about ingredients and food preparation . . . she also taught me what I didn't know that I didn't know. Although my humble skills and impatience with scratch cooking will prohibit me from ever making more than a handful of these outstanding dishes in the proper manner, whatever I do make will be much better for what I learned From My Mexican Kitchen. I am especially indebted to the many photographs that portray the ingredients and the tricky steps of preparation.
Although the book is encyclopedic in its coverage from my perspective, clearly Ms. Kennedy was just scratching the surface of her knowledge. I hope she will consider taking some of the sections here (such as Making Antojitos, Tamales and Utensils) and making them into full length books.
To appreciate how detailed her knowledge is, you need to realize that she tells you about how the same dish is prepared in every part of Mexico . . . and how those practices differ among younger and older chefs. So there's an element of cultural anthropology here, too. I was especially grateful for her help in straightening out the various names applied to ingredients and dishes (which vary a lot from area to area) because they often contradict one another in meaning.
If you just buy the book and learn about what she has to say about preparing fresh and dried chiles, you will feel more than rewarded. That section was a masterpiece!
She also explains the many mysteries of lard . . .
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By K. Sheley on August 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This cookbook is an exceptional production by Diana Kennedy, winner of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Lifetime Achievement Award. The multitudinous photos (Michael Calderwood) use her hands as models of perfect techniques for most of the recipes. You can't read and view the book without knowing exactly what to do. Even if you know a great deal about Mexican and Southwest cooking, you will learn an immense amount from this well-illustrated book. She shares her secrets and knowledge with all, and you can choose just how complex to make a recipe, from toasted seeds (typical), to avocado leaves (traditional, but hard to find). I own a number of her cookbooks, including out of print books, and am utterly delighted to have this set of her experiences laid out before me. You will notice she is wearing a white apron and blouse, a great idea to deal with foods which stain easily, from peppers to tomatoes. I wish I had the address of her apron company; it would save me a lot of t-shirt stains.

Seriously, this is the most explanatory of all her books so far. You would be remiss in not having it in your collection.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Information Junkie on December 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This season, I decided to make tamales. Although I have had this cookbook on my shelf for a while, I hadn't bothered to read it . . . and then I made some tamales from a recipe from the internet . . . and suddenly, this book's value became very apparent. The chapters on fresh and dried chilies are worth every penny alone . . . what to look for, why, how to prepare, what NOT to do to them (and why) . . . fascinating late night reading! The section on tools is also handy. While I haven't tried any recipes from the book, I expect to refer to them frequently, to compare and contrast to others that have been recommended by friends . . . so many recipes out there on the internet are missing the subtleties of technique and why slight variations in preparation can make a big difference.

This book explains clearly the hows and the whys for many ingredients and techniques, which helps greatly in figuring out how to make something better if it doesn't turn out as expected the first time. This is the kind of knowledge that desperately needs to be passed on and preserved, so I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning authentic Mexican cooking.
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