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My Mexico: A Culinary Odyssey with More Than 300 Recipes Hardcover – October 20, 1998

18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 550 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (October 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609602470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609602478
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.8 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #887,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Travel Enthusiast on 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 books including The Art of Mexican Cooking and The Cuisines of Mexico, both of which have some photographs, mostly black and white. This cookbook has good assortment of recipes accompanied by rambling text. There are no photographs of the finished recipes to guide the novice cook with little experience in preparing Mexican cuisine. Colorful, festive presentation is an essential part of authentic Mexican Cuisine, which are best seen in color photographs. I recommend buying "Savoring Mexico" by Marilyn Tausend or "The Mexican Gourmet" by Maria Dolores Torres Yzabal. Both make beautiful gifts and also recommends where you can find the more unusual ingredients used in the recipies. (I own all 5 books mentioned here.)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If you're already aware that Mexican food is as close to divine as food gets, you'll enjoy this book, but most likely be a little frustrated by the lack of specific ingredients available stateside. Ms Kennedy rambles a bit, but it's all enjoyable. If you're a novice, I'd suggest her Cuisines of Mexico.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Manley VINE VOICE on 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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 24, 1999
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tiffany Follett on July 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is my first "authentic" Mexican cuisine cookbook. I'm from St. Paul, MN, where you would think there would be a serious lack of authentic Mexican food, however, the part of St. Paul I am from has a very large Latino community, the recipes in this book remind me of many meals I've had in friends homes. It is excellent if you are looking for authentic recipes and the real taste of Mexican cuisine. Fans of Taco Bell, forget it.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
`My Mexico' by leading authority on Mexican food, Diana Kennedy is her eighth book, seven of which are on Mexican cuisine. This easily puts her in the forefront of writers on national cuisines, along with Julia Child, Penelope Casas, Marcella Hazan, and Diane Kochilas. It even puts her ahead of the very well known writer, educator, and Chicago restaurateur, Rick Bayless, who has paltry four books on Mexican food to his credit.

I have reviewed Ms. Kennedy's ninth book, `From My Mexican Kitchen', which I consider a real gem among treatises on the techniques of national cuisines. It goes into various techniques, especially baking, on which Ms. Kennedy is a certifiable expert, to a level of detail that one rarely sees in other books. The current book under consideration is much different from the later volume and should expect to find a much narrower audience.

`My Mexico' is a personal culinary diary, with echos of a John Steinbeck `Travels With Charley' air about it. Like many other culinary surveys, it is organized by Mexican province rather than by type of dish. And, unlike Ms. Casas' excellent `Delicioso!' culinary geography of Spain, with lots of interesting summaries of characteristics of the various regions, Ms. Kennedy is purely the tourist in this book, dwelling on the specific people and places and dishes she encounters in her travels throughout Mexico.

As an aside, I will add the opinion that Ms. Kennedy seems to find much ugliness in the urban development, congestion, lack of good highways, and disappearance of natural beauty in her beloved Mexico. The recitation of changes she finds distasteful make one wonder how her affection for the country survives the uncontrolled and somewhat corrupt development in Mexico.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I've always enjoyed DK's books enormously, but this one was a disappointment. It reads like a very boring travelog, so I was glad to find it in my local library instead of paying [item price]!
I yawned through the first part.... and finally managed to read the entire text, but it was all so dull...and pointless. I hope she sticks to brief background notes and more great recipes in her new book due out soon. The recipes, as always, though, are really good!
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