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Books I Like (No. 1)

Like most of you, I love cookbooks. I love the idea of them and mostly I love them when I get them but more often than not, they collect dust. I wanted to share the books that have changed the way I cook. These are my dirtiest books (from use!) and they'll go with me wherever I end up. ranchogordo-00765 My Mexico by Diana Kennedy When this book first came out, I was very disappointed. Some of the ingredients seemed intentionally obscure and it failed to inspire the way her other books did. I was also somewhat new to Mexican cooking. Years later, this has become one of my favorite books. As you dig deeper into Mexican cuisine, you realize how little you really know. This book is like chatting with an old pal about great dishes and experiences she's had throughout the country. It's without compromise so there are some difficult recipes and hard to find ingredients, but that's your problem, not Diana's. The book went out of print but now the University of Texas Press has reprinted it, alas without the lovely Louise Fili design of the original. The new version has a section of Diana's color photos from her travels added. Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless and Dean Groen Bayless Another strong voice on Mexican food is of course Rick Bayless. Before the TV shows, there was Authentic Mexican. The title is ambitious but so is the book and the recipes are excellent. I think Kennedy goes narrow and deep while Bayless is broader and more accessible. I am happy to have both of them. Los Chiles Rellenos en Mexico by Ricardo Muñoz Zurita Ricardo Muñoz Zurita seems to write really fine books that go out of print and then fetch insane amounts of money as used books. His Diccionario Enciclopedico de la Gastronomia Mexicana was an incredible reference work that you could read for pleasure. The original Clio version has been republished by Larousse in an expanded edition with odd graphics and a weak binding and the buzz is that there will be an English language version soon, but I've been hearing this for 10 years. His Los Chiles de Mexico is an almost perfect book on the subject but went out of print within months of publication. Los Chiles Rellenos isn't as ambitious but it's a great book and the bilingual version is handy. In addition to traditional recipes, there are some modern twists and for me, I found it a great inspiration to create some of my own stuffed chiles. There is an older, out of print, Spanish only version. Try and get this expanded version.

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