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Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy (The William and Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture of the Western Hemisphere) Hardcover


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Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy (The William and Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture of the Western Hemisphere) + The Art of Mexican Cooking + The Essential Cuisines of Mexico
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Product Details

  • Series: The William and Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture of the Western Hemisphere
  • Hardcover: 460 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press; First Edition edition (September 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292722664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292722668
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 10.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A British citizen, Diana Southwood went to Mexico in 1957 to marry Paul P. Kennedy of the New York Times. Today she is widely considered the foremost researcher, teacher, and writer on the regional foods of Mexico and has written eight books on the subject. She has been bestowed the highest honor given to foreigners by the Mexican government, the Order of the Aztec Eagle, for her work of disseminating Mexican culture through its foods. She has also received numerous awards from other gastronomic institutions and was decorated with an MBE by Queen Elizabeth for her work in strengthening cultural relations between Mexico and the United Kingdom, as well as for her work for the environment, which is always reflected in her texts. For the past thirty years, her studies have been centered around her ecological house in the state of Michoacán.

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

"Oaxaca al Gusto" is the culmination of Diana Kennedy's life's work.
Marco Antonio Abarca
I much prefer the way her other books were printed... easier to work with it a kitchen that will become cluttered when you get into working with Kennedy's recipes.
S. Ravago
If you love Mexican cooking, if you love to cook, if you are interested in the way food and culture intersect -- this is a book for your library and your kitchen.
Phyllis F. Perkins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

193 of 214 people found the following review helpful By temp on September 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I just bought this book and thought I'd share a useful, informative viewpoint that I wish I had the benefit of reading prior to making this purchase.
There's no doubt this is a beautiful book: hefty, easy to read glossy pages, ample pictures, numerous recipes.
HOWEVER... I judge a book's usefulness (to me) as how many recipes I think I will actually make.
A quick page through this book and it's clear there are VERY FEW.
It's a wonderful historic book that documents real recipes from the region (Offal, pig's head, iguana) and uses ingredients (with no substitutions) that are unaccessible (pozol leaf, yuca, cherimole, pasta de pluma, ouzi, chichilo...). The glossary gives little hint toward finding something that might be able to be used in place of something that we find unavailable outside the region, and merely gives a description of what 'it' is. The glossary is very abbreviated (and for instance does not even include any of those aforementioned ingredients). The index is sorted by region and is in Spanish. So if you saw a pork dish when you were looking through the book's 400 pages, the index will do little to help you find it again.

Diana Kennedy is a talented explorer of the Mexican culture and generous in her ability to provide us with a sense of it's recipes. I use her books as reference guides and bibles for Mexican cuisine. I understand that she wanted this book to be her book, to cover the 'real' Oaxaca her way, despite guidance from book publishers who wanted to make it more sellable. She's gained her fame and fortune, and is a place in her life where she is not desperate for the money off a book and can instead make decisions based on her heart and soul. I get all that. Good for here for standing by her principles.
However, had I had the opportunity review this book prior to purchasing, I would never have bought it, as I see myself rarely using it.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Sharon D on November 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have had the pleasure of taking a cooking class with Diana Kennedy at her home in Michoacan (an incredible experience). Her knowledge of Mexican cooking is second to none. Many of the recipes in this book are perhaps beyond the reach of most home cooks, however it is so rewarding to read the book and share in the adventures of gathering the recipes, and learn about regional village life. Diana's obvious love of the natural world and how each region makes use of what is available locally, is the backbone of this work. This book once again proves the wonderful generosity of the Mexican people, and their willingness to share regardless of their wealth. This is a remarkable collection of the traditional regional cuisines of Oaxaca, to be treasured and read and re-read. Bravo Diana!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Marco Antonio Abarca VINE VOICE on November 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For serious students of Mexican cuisine, Oaxaca holds a certain fascination. As one of the poorest and most indigenous regions of Mexico, Oaxaca is where one finds the food ways that pre-date the arrival of the Spanish. It is this Pre-Columbian tradition that leads many food writers to believe that Oaxaca has the most "authentic" and profound Mexican food.

As earlier reviewers have noted there are plenty of recipes in "Oaxaca al Gusto" that are way beyond the means of even the most dedicated home cook. Afterall, how many people are really going to make wasp nest sauce or salsa for flying ants? While most people will never make these recipes, they are nevertheless fascinating to read about. In addition, Diana Kennedy's extraordinary photos bring an additional level of understanding.

While there are plenty of exotic recipes, they are also easily a couple of hundred recipes that can be attacked by any serious home cook with a little imagination. As the Mexican immigrant population has grown and moved throughout the United States, ingredients that ten years ago seemed exotic and impossible to find can now be found at number of neighborhood food stores. It may take a little work to find these ingredients but end result will yield a greater understanding of the diversity of Mexican food.

Diana Kennedy has spent the last forty five years wandering around Mexico's backroads in search of interesting recipes. She is the foremost expert on Mexican food in the world and "Oaxaca al Gusto" is truly her opus magnus. This book is not for the casual cook looking for recipes for Thursday Taco night. "Oaxaca al Gusto" is the culmination of Diana Kennedy's life's work. One can only pray that Diana Kennedy has it in her to produce one or two more classic books like this one. The highest recommendation.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By S. Ravago on September 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was so excited to finally get my copy of Kennedy's newest cookbook. I've only has it for a day and already I am making my shopping list for the dishes I want to try. Having been to Oaxaca a few times, I want to relive old favorites and also try to prepare some of the more esoteric recipes. This cook is an amazing cornucopia of that regions wonderful foods and cultures.
My only complaint? The size and weight of the book itself. The format is coffee table style (providing that your coffee table is sturdy).
The weight makes the book unwieldy and difficult to use in a kitchen setting. I much prefer the way her other books were printed... easier to work with it a kitchen that will become cluttered when you get into working with Kennedy's recipes. That said, I am happy with the book overall and am ready to expand my Oaxacan culinary abilities.
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