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The Essential Cuisines of Mexico

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by Diana Kennedy
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This book combines three of Diana Kennedy's  (1923-2022) most influential books in one volume: The Cuisines of Mexico, Mexican Regional Cooking, and The Tortilla Book.

Kitchen Arts & Letters founder Nach Waxman knew Diana Kennedy well, and was an editor at Harper & Row when these books were first published. This is what Nach had to say about Diana and her impact:

To most Americans before the 1960s Mexican food meant the food of the Southwest--known variously as Mexican-American, Tex-Mex, or as Border Food. The few books on traditional Mexican cooking that existed were produced by small local publishers or even self-published.

Then, Craig Claiborne, then food editor of the The New York Times, discovered right in his city a British-born woman named Diana Kennedy (1923- ), who had lived in Mexico for many years with her journalist husband. With Claiborne’s encouragement, she began teaching authentic Mexican cooking. Claiborne wrote extensively about her, and before long she had a contract from a major publisher.

The resulting book [The Cuisines of Mexico] played a major role in spreading the word to Americans that classic Mexican food merited real attention. As a student of Mexican history and cuisine, Kennedy recognized that the food of Mexico derived in part from the chef-created cuisines of its early civilizations, and her major interest was in preserving and teaching the right way to make that food, with a minimum of labor-saving shortcuts or compromises to American taste.

This kind of rigor was relatively rare, and although some readers found it forbidding, others felt it bracing and agreed with Kennedy that it was, for example, well worth the effort to squeeze oil from pumpkin seeds by hand. The book remains a monument of culinary writing.

This is a paperback with line illustrations throughout.


Published: June 15, 2000

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