The Gastronomy of Spain and Portugal

Maite Manjon, Author Prentice Hall $35 (320p) ISBN 978-0-13-347691-0
``Depreciation of the Spanish cuisine in favor of the French began during the 17th century,'' notes Spanish-born Manjon, plainly gratified to see Iberian cuisine winning more respect since the 1970s, when the founding of the Spanish Academy of Gastronomy and nationalist culinary movements such as the ``nueva cocina vasca'' group occurred. Her adroitly cross-referenced compendium contains some 1200 articles, ranging from a sentence to a page, that define and expound on ingredients, dishes, utensils, wine regions, chefs past and present, procedures, customs and culinary issues, with recipes inserted throughout. Including Portugal along with Spain was not, in this case, an insensitive move; the author treats the entire peninsula as an amalgam of regional cuisines. A major strength is her breadth of focus and clarity of organization. While Manjon's abilities do not extend to recapturing the sensuous experience of eating--you don't see a plate in front of you or taste a morsel in your mouth--her emphasis on preparation and cultural context bears fruit. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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