17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America (Hardcover)
There are different kinds of cookbooks ranging from unelaborated collections of recipes, recipes with casual discussions, recipes with good explanations about technique, tomes in which recipes are almost incidental to other content, and the relatively few cookbooks that are worth reading for both their cultural content and their recipes. This book is essentially a well-written encyclopedia of Latin cuisine and does an extraordinary job of presenting the broad range of Latin American cooking in a readable and enjoyable way. In fact, this is the kind of cookbook that makes sense to read cover-to-cover.
The author conveys her passion for Latin cooking in a sensitive but modest way. For example, there are no snooty lectures about "authenticity" or assertions that you are a shallow person if you enjoy a margarita with your chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant. What is presented are foods and ingredients in their cultural setting with plenty of clear guidance regarding sources of ingredients and techniques for preparation. In addition, the recipes tend to be straightforward with basic and usually readily-attainable ingredients. This is a particularly nice feature of the book because it presents foods as they are typically prepared instead of attempting to show off a chef's talents on how he or she puts their personal spin on a dish. I don't know if anyone has ever written the perfect cookbook, but this one comes close.