About the “Cooking with Kennedy” project
So, there it is. I wrote it down. Now I have to do it. Right?
Well, no. I could just stop. In fact, my history as a human being says I will probably stop before getting through the book. I chose The Art of Mexican Cooking over others in her catalog (and my collection) because I thought it did a better job surveying Mexican cuisine and presented some more challenging foods.
One thing I’d like to point out about this book–and Diana Kennedy’s works in general–is that she is very much focused on the center of the country. It is only natural considering that the vast majority of Mexicans live in the country’s center. It just so happens that the majority of the time I have spent living in and visiting Mexico has been in the places she doesn’t touch very often. She doesn’t seem to like the desert much. It’s okay, either do I.
I won’t be going in order in this book for one simple reason–If I do, we’ll drown in Tortillas for the first few weeks.
Here is the breakdown:
So much corn. Did you see that documentary King Corn? The first 100 pages or so of this book are basically ALL CORN. It is insane. There are 6 different Enchiladas, 12 Tamales, and 19 different recipes that might qualify as snacks or antojitos. I will be spacing them out because, well, vegetables.
Once we finish up in the corn patch, you get to move on to soups where there is….
MORE CORN. Some people cook with bacon. Apparently I cook with corn. Don’t worry, we can wrap something in bacon. In all there will be 16 soups–I just knocked one out today and it was really unique and different than what we are used to. Figure, that’s what we are looking for here, food that is different than one you’re used to getting from mom, El Torito, Taco Bell or your favorite purveyor of Mexican cuisine. I mention Taco Bell because despite its great varied flavors and culinary complexity, even a book by Diana Kennedy feels in a way as though it works on the Taco Bell theory of ingredient combination. Pick from corn, beans, chile, tomato, tomatillo, sauce, onions and garlic, add in a protein and a few herbs, and you have probably half of the recipes in the book. To its credit, the number of different flavors and presentations, and the ingredients originating in Mexico are what make this cuisine special. The section on vegetables, salads and beans stands out with great variety and I’ll likely give you recommendations on how to combine 3 or 4 different recipes for a multi-course meal. Naturally, you can ignore those recommendations.
If you have any questions about ingredients that I haven’t already answered, feel free to ask. I probably won’t send you over to AltaVista.