I own a lot of cookbooks.
I have read most of these cookbooks, and I definitely have my favorites. Some of the first cookbooks that I started collecting were for Mexican food. I lived for a year and a half in California working with Spanish-speakers. They were from many different countries, but the majority that I met were from Mexico. They would invite us for dinner, and so I got to experience a lot of delicious Mexican home cooking. When I came home, I missed the delicious food that I had eaten, and so my quest to find great Mexican recipes began.
I have several favorites, but today I’ll highlight one of the best cookbooks for learning how to cook truly authentic Mexican food.
Rick Bayless is a big deal in the Mexican cooking world. I went to one of his restaurants in Chicago a couple of years ago, and I saw him from a distance talking with his staff. When I saw him, it was like I was a teenager who just saw her biggest movie star crush! I was so excited and nervous. I started planning what I would say if he came around to the tables to talk to the patrons, you know, so that he could understand how big of a fan I am.
Well, he never came around to the tables, so I didn’t get to share my perfectly rehearsed speech, but that is probably for the best, because I am sure if he really did come over to our table, I would have been a bumbling fool.
I credit this book with teaching me the essentials of cooking Mexican cuisine. My husband is Mexican, and so people often ask him about his favorite Mexican restaurants. He always flatters me by answering that his favorite place to eat is at home.
This cookbook does not have photographs, but it does have a few pencil drawings. Don’t let that intimidate you. There are also long explanations for each recipe – don’t skip over these. This is where you can really learn a lot about the nuances of the food.
Here are the recipes I recommend to get you started:
- Arroz a la Mexicana (Mexican Tomato-colored Rice) Pg. 263
- Frijoles de la Olla (Brothy Beans) Pg. 267 to be made into Frijoles Refritos (Fried Beans) Pg. 269
- Salsa Verde cruda (Fresh Green Tomatillo Sauce) Pg. 36
- Picadillo Oaxaqueno (Minced Pork with Almonds, Raisins, and Sweet Spices) Pg. 132
- Papas y Chorizo (Potatoes with Mexican Sausage) Pg. 134
- Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo (Pork-stuffed Chiles in Savory Tomato Sauce) Pg. 245