Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America and the Spanish Caribbean

Maricel E. Presilla, Author
Maricel E. Presilla. Norton, $45 (864p) ISBN 978-0-393-05069-1
Reviewed on: 09/17/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
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Presilla, who runs a restaurant in Hoboken, N.J., and holds a doctorate in medieval Spanish history, offers this bible of Latin American food. Well researched, organized, and impressive, this book covers dishes from Mexico, Argentina, and the Hispanic Caribbean. Born in Cuba, Presilla has a passion for Latin food that’s beautifully illustrated in her latest work. Her goal, she explains is “to adapt and transform the elemental beauty and tastes of Latin American cooking to the modern kitchen, while respecting the food’s primary flavors, and to create earthy, intensely flavored dishes.” Presilla includes more than 500 recipes for everything from tropical roots to empanadas and meat dishes of every kind. Some are dishes that Presilla learned as a child cooking with her family (she combines personal stories with her recipes) like “My Grandmother’s Ajiaco,” a soup made with starchy vegetables and dried beef. Others have been interpreted for the home cook, such as yucca bread. Presilla describes the primitive tools used by native people of the Orinoco and Amazon basins, but provides a recipe that uses a food processor to grind the yucca. This comprehensive collection is fascinating, informative, and stunning. (Oct.)
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