cover image The Cuisines of Spain: Exploring Regional Home Cooking

The Cuisines of Spain: Exploring Regional Home Cooking

Teresa Barrenechea. Ten Speed Press, $40 (337pp) ISBN 978-1-58008-515-1

Few have done more to disseminate the delights of Spanish cuisine than Barrenechea. A Spanish native, former New York restaurateur and author of The Basque Table, Barrenchea mixes Spanish history with the 250 recipes in this formidable cookbook. The recipes are grouped by course, and the author suggests some main dishes can, ""in small portions, be served as tapas."" This should, in theory, make meal-planning fun, but the sheer volume of recipes may intimidate many: there are eight chapters of courses, not counting tapas or sauces, and although Barrenechea insists these recipes do not require ""hard-to-find ingredients,"" Spanish staples like salt cod or blood sausage can prove difficult to locate. Similarly, the author claims ""you don't need a lot of specialized equipment,"" right after she asserts ""if you want to cook authentic Spanish dishes,"" you'll need earthenware casseroles in different sizes, a paella pan, a food mill and a mortar and pestle. Although the recipes are superior-clear, concise, and delicious- this cookbook seems intended more for education than entertainment. Those who are obsessed with Spanish cooking will consider it a treasure; anyone with slightly less interest may feel overwhelmed.