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OP: Cocina Chilena

OP: Cocina Chilena


Monica Pardo Blum
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Every year hundreds and hundreds of new cookbooks come into the market, representing an impressive array of international cuisines—Japanese, Scandinavian, Indian, Moroccan, Spanish, Italian. But somehow the food of Chile gets scant attention from US publishers. Rich and diverse, it is well worth exploring. 

To our great pleasure we discovered a Spanish-language volume, originally published in Chile in 2005, which, we hope, will open a window for someone with a sense of adventure.

The author, Monica Pardo Blum, writes from what is clearly deep knowledge, displaying warmth and passion, both about the act of cooking and the character of the cuisine. Devoting some fifty introductory pages to a narrative overview of the food of Chile, she examines its origins and history, its ingredients, and the diversity of its regional styles. 

Following are nearly 500 pages of recipes, arranged by subject—including hot and cold appetizers, beans, vegetables, sandwiches, preserves, and sweets. This is not a hyper-sophisticated compilation, and the dishes are often quite simple, stressing quality ingredients more than elaborate technique. Among the items that caught our eye were pastel de choclo (a corn casserole with meat stuffing), pantrucas con longaniza (dumplings in broth with sausage), ponche en chirimoya (custard apple punch), and corona de chocolate con salsa de naranjas (a chocolate crown with orange sauce). 

Some ingredients are, of course, local and will be more difficult to find except in larger American cities. But for the enterprising cook or the curious reader the book provides a marvelous portrait of a little-known cuisine. Also offered are seasonal menu ideas and useful advice for those less familiar with this culinary idiom.

This copy is a substantial, attractive hardcover, 8” x 11”, published without a dust jacket. Other than slight bumping at the head and foot of the spine, it is in excellent condition. The pages are clean and bright, and the binding is sound. Quality color photographs supplement the text.

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