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Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America Hardcover – October 1, 2012
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“Starred review. Well-researched, organized, and impressive, [Gran Cocina Latina] covers dishes from Mexico, Argentina, and the Hispanic Caribbean. This comprehensive collection is fascinating, informative, and stunning.”
- Publishers Weekly
“Starred review. This comprehensive and meticulously wrought reference book belongs in every library’s cookery collection.”
“This book not only answers the how but the why as well. Maricel is our bridge to the past, the history of Latin American cocina, describing the original connections to Spain and its cooking and then what has evolved... more aromas, more textures, more flavors, more sexy ingredients. We can now understand Latin America better because of Maricel and the amazing foods that tell its rich history.”
- José Andrés
“I know of no other book that approaches the scholarship, passion and decades-long dedication that Maricel Presilla has lavished on Gran Cocina Latina.”
- Rick Bayless
“Gran Cocina Latina is a book as grand as its subject. It’s a beautifully written distillation of Maricel Presilla’s decades of experience in the markets and kitchens of Latin America. I can’t imagine a better guide to this vast and underappreciated region. Maricel is a scholar, food importer, restaurateur, tireless explorer, and above all is passionate about everything she does. Gran Cocina Latina explains clearly how to bring the special flavors of Latin America to our own tables.”
- Harold McGee
“Books like this don’t happen very often so drink it in and know it will still be in your kitchen ten years from now.”
- Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Host of The Splendid Table®, public radio's national food show from American Public Media
“The food of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking New World is complex, intricate, and has variety and range, extending from Cuba to Ecuador and from Mexico to Brazil. Maricel Presilla, a chef and food historian, takes us through that whole continent in a comprehensible, intelligent, original, and delicious voyage.”
- Jacques Pépin
“[A] serious but accessible study.”
- Pete Wells, New York Times
About the Author
Maricel E. Presilla is the co-owner of Zafra and Cucharamama, two Latin restaurants in Hoboken, New Jersey. She holds a doctorate in medieval Spanish history from New York University and lives in Weehawken, New Jersey.
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Top customer reviews
1) Her Cuban Avocado, Watercress, and Caramelized Pineapple Salad is a delicious, beautiful, unusal show stopper. I brought it to dinner club and everyone raved. It's my go to Cuban side dish now.
2-3) My husband's favorite comfort food is Ropa Vieja, so I always try that recipe first. Maricel's recipe is the best flavored that we've tasted!
4) The Cuban-Style Shrimp in Enchilado Sauce is fantastic! I make the pineapple avocado salad for that, too. :)
5) Chicken Fricassee, Cuban-style - p662. So yummy and easy!
6) Yucatecan Fruit Salad with Bitter Orange – p 555. Wonderfully refreshing, sunshiny spicy citrus, papaya, and jicama salad.
7-9) Galician Empanada with Chorizo – p 414. Love this. It calls for a full pound of Spanish chorizo, so I did a ½ pound of hot and a ½ pound of medium. This is delicious. My husband paired it with a gorgeous tempranillo. I usually make little empanadas with cute little scalloped edges. This is a giant family sized empanada baked in a paella pan. I just couldn’t get the scallops on the edge with the edge of the paella pan there, so I’ll probably just use a baking sheet next time. Maybe you’ll have better luck.
10) Spicy Andean Corn and Cheese Salad p 561. Great summery salad. It’s very filling with a full pound of queso fresco in there.
My only complaint -- and I agree with other reviewers that many of the ingredients that she suggests are hard to find so the one thing missing for me is a resources section of the book of where to find these ingredients. I live in Brooklyn and I know Maricel Presilla, our author, lives in Hoboken, NJ so its possible I could go to some of her local stores, or even order special ingredients online but she doesn't give her readers a lot of hints on where to source these special ingredients, online or local to her, which is a bit of a bummer. Maybe she can add that to a second edition!
I spent a career in Venezuela and Mexico, mostly in the back country, often sleeping in hammocks and eating fresh cooked foods unavailable in big city restaurants (when I had the opportunity to look for them.) I'm now in my late 80s, and this book refreshes memories of foods long forgotten, marinates taste buds, and pulls me back into the kitchen. Perhaps most gratifying are the fragments of history of where these foods originated and where and how they arrived and were modified for the New World tongue.
Thank you, Maricel Presilla. And Thank you, Amazon.
The recipes are straightforward and presented with introductions that makes them hard to resist. Ever since I received the book I've been scouring the internet for different rare ingredients(Chiles chilhuacles, chiles mirasol, chicha jora, to name a few), but the book overs good substitutions for ingredients that you may have difficulty procuring outside of their native regions (I'm looking at you, chilhuacles negros!). I've already made a Peruvian adobo from the book and just finished grinding together chiles pequin and cocoa nibs to create in incredible Mayan seasoning brick that can be grated onto dishes as needed. I'm also gathering up the ingredients to make the epic Oaxacan mole negro for Halloween (I'm absolutely fascinated by the prospect of burning a bunch of chile seeds to carbon and using them to color the sauce- noxious fumes be damned!) Who knows, by next summer I may even be planting my own selection of chiles and herbs that I can make more of these fantastic recipes.
If you have any interest in authentic Latin cuisine, or are passionate about the art of cooking in any way, you need to buy this book. It will surely earn a prominent place amongst your cookbooks and on your kitchen counters.