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Mexican cookbooks of 2012: Some gift giving ideas

Reviewed by Karen Hursh Graber

Taking a look at the past year's Mexican cookbook offerings, it seems that 2012 produced more specialized books than ever before. These are not your essential Mexican cookbooks (for that, go to Diana Kennedy's The Essential Cuisines of Mexico or Adela Fernandez' La Traditional Cocina Mexicana), but they will add new dimensions to a basic Mexican culinary library.

There is a book dedicated solely to the delights of a Mexican-themed cocktail party, a good gift choice for friends who love to entertain, and a collection of recipes for the country's typical, beloved street foods, perfect for those who want to recreate the flavors of Mexico's outdoor stands and market stalls. A cookbook and wonderfully loving tale of three generations spanning the migration from northern Mexico to the United States is a great read for anyone who appreciates a generous helping of irresistible stories along with mouth-watering recipes.

Cooks, foodies, and armchair gourmets are easy to shop for, and they always welcome cookbooks, especially those with background information or stories that take them beyond a mere gathering of recipes. These books are all available at


Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales: Flavors from the Griddles, Pots, and Street-Side Kitchens of Mexico
Roberto Santibañez
Wiley, October 2012

Roberto Santibañez, a well-known chef and native of Mexico City, was instrumental in bringing authentic Mexican cuisines to American cities.

This book conveys his affection for the street foods of his homeland, with their amazing variety and examples of how extraordinary flavors are produced in the humblest of circumstances.

One of the best aspects of this book is its representation of regional cuisines, with a good mix from nearly all parts of Mexico, from Baja to the Yucatan.


Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles, and Snacks
Rick Bayless and Deann Groen Bayless
W. W. Norton and Company, November 2012

Get out the margarita glasses and get ready to party, with recipes for everything from fruit margaritas to herb margaritas and pack-a-wallop mezcal margaritas. There are also cocktails made with Mexico's famous fruit aguas, and guacamole for all seasons, including some creative and inspiring versions such as apple-fennel, walnut-pomegranate, and even a strawberry and habanero guacamole.

Bayless, famed Chicago restaurateur, cookbook author and host of the PBS show Mexico — One Plate at a Time, has an enthusiasm for Mexican cuisine that is absolutely contagious, and this book will inspire many a fiesta.


Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor
Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith and Evangelina Soza
Hippocrene Books, bilingual edition, October 2012

The comforting food of northern Mexico has a special appeal, and so do the stories of the women who passed down this region's recipes and recreated them in a new country.

From the very traditional Mexican recipes of Jesusita, who fled Chihuahua with her family during the Mexican Revolution, to the border area dishes of her daughter Evangelina, and the Latin fusion cooking of her granddaughters, this collection, which started as a cooking blog, has something for everyone, from traditional enchiladas and carne asada tacos to quirky modern cocktails like the "La Llorona Martini."

Mexconnect readers will recognize Yvette and Veronica from their articles.


Published or Updated on: December 18, 2012 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2012
Contact Karen Hursh Graber

Follow Karen as she travels through the Central Mexican state of Puebla, meeting local cooks, tasting the food, and collecting recipes. With over 75 recipes, plus sections on ingredients and cooking techniques, the book takes the reader on a journey through one of Mexico's oldest and most renowned culinary regions. It can be ordered online.

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