Given the paucity of books in English on Chilean food, it's encouraging to find this thoughtful, context rich book.
Chile stretches 2,300 miles along the Pacific coast, a distance equivalent to that between Alaska and Guatemala. That span of miles north to south means tremendous diversity of climate and local foods, as well as local traditions.
Hernandez, a Chilean expat and award-winning blogger, and Smith, a former New Yorker now living in Santiago, bring details of Chilean culinary culture to life in their head notes. Lentils, beans, and chickpeas are all eaten, but never mixed together in the same dish. Chileans very rarely eat food with their hands. And when it comes to a summery tomato and meat sauté called tomaticán, members of the same family are often divided not only over whether it should be served with rice or potatoes, but whether the tomaticán should be served beside or on top of its accompanying starch.
As for the dishes themselves, they feature indigenous ingredients such as potatoes and quinoa, but signs of influence from elsewhere as well. Cauliflower with walnut sauce; a double-crusted spinach pie; a brothy seafood stew typically served on weekends; noodles with an avocado pesto; a sweet Christmas bread enriched with three different nuts and dulce de leche in the batter itself. Quite appealing, though it's worth noting that the head note text is printed in a slender type.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.