A Technicolor travelogue exploring Mexican cuisine coupled with a deeply personal story.
Beginning in Mexico City and ending on the Baja California peninsula, second generation Mexican American and former Bon Appetit Senior Editor Rick Martínez spent 586 days eating his way through the country his great grandfather left in 1910.
“I chose my meals by what smelled the best and looked the best, which puestos had the most locals sitting in front of them, eating and laughing as the juice of slow-braised pork and bright green salsas de aguacate dripped down their faces. I’d ask the cooks a single question: ‘Out of everything you make, what do you like best?’ With this as my criterion, 99.9 percent of what I ate was delicious.”
Each chapter is a bold highlight reel of Martinez’s favorite meals, conjured from lovingly documented taste memories. In the state of Morelos, Martínez eats tlaltequeadas— indigenous fritters held together with chia and flaxmeal—then reinterprets them with spinach and squash blossoms. In Tulum, he experiences a ceviche revelation: burnt habanero chile oil drizzled on raw shrimp and watermelon with coconut milk and lime juice.
Martínez builds on his mother’s exploration of her own first-generation identity through food. He remembers when she took two weeks off work so they could learn how to make tamales together; her mother and aunts had all died by then and there was no one left who could pass the recipe down. In Mi Cocina, he shines a light on the experience of being generations removed from one's cultural origins, and finds his version of “authentic” along the way.
Look out for a poignant essay on how the migration of people has contributed to shaping of some iconic, authentically Mexican dishes: tacos árabes from Lebanese and Iraqi immigrants in Veracruz, peanutty stews influenced by enslaved Africans brought by Spanish colonizers through the Gulf Coast, and soy sauce and black bean paste in marinades concocted by Chinese immigrants in Mexicali.
Hardcover, color photographs throughout.