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OP: The Tortilla Book

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by Diana Kennedy

Harper & Row, 1975. Paperback. Very Good.

The irony that a British woman played an enormous role in exposing the wider American public to regional Mexican cuisine is not lost on us. But Diana Kennedy’s (1923–2022) anthropological approach and commitment to preserving recipes and traditions as thoroughly as possible proved invaluable to growing interest and scholarship in the foodways south of the border.

Kennedy lived in Mexico—fully committed to traveling the country and recording the home recipes from any and all remote corners—for a decade before setting out to write her first book, The Cuisines of Mexico (1972), a revelatory, authoritative text on the subject. Her 1975 sophomore follow up, The Tortilla Book, focuses on the corn-based variety and its many uses and adaptations. 

In addition to all types of tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas, there are some surprises as well. Catching our eye:

  • jellied pig’s feet tostadas
  • a casserole of layered fried tortillas, sautéed mushrooms—traditionally calling for huitlacoche but here adjusted for American kitchens where the prized fungus is harder to come by—tomato sauce, and queso Chihuahua 
  • tortilla ball soup—the “ball” made with stale tortillas, ground and made into a dough with milk, queso añjeo, and egg, all fried in lard
  • gorditas stuffed with refried black beans blended (ideally) with avocado leaves and served with pico de gallo 

We offer here the 1975 paperback in Very Good condition. Very lightly shelfworn; clean and unmarked. Classic and ever-relevant.

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