A collection of more than two hundred treasured family recipes and the stories behind them, Cocina de la Familia is a celebration of Mexican-American home cooking, culture, and family values.
For three years, Marilyn Tausend traveled across the United States and Mexico, talking to hundreds of Mexican and Mexican-American cooks. With the help of chef Miguel Ravago, Tausend tells the tale of these cooks, all of whom have adapted the family dishes and traditions they remember to accommodate a life considerably different from the lives of their parents and grandparents.
In these pages you will find the real food eaten every day by Mexican-American families, whether they live in cities such as Los Angeles, the border towns of Texas, the farming communities of the Pacific Northwest, or the isolated villages of New Mexico. An Oregonian from Morelos, Mexico, balances sweet, earthy chiles with tart tomatillos for a tangy green salsa that is a perfect topping for Chipotle Crab Enchiladas or Huevos Rancheros. A Chicago woman from Guanajuato pairs light, spicy Chicken and Garbanzo Soup with quesadillas for a simple supper. A Los Angeles cook serves a dish of Chicken with Spicy Prune Sauce, the fire of the chiles tamed by Coca-Cola, and in Illinois a woman adds chocolate to the classic Mexican rice pudding.
Now you can re-create the vibrant flavors and rustic textures of this remarkable cuisine in your own kitchen. Most of the recipes are quite simple, and the more complex dishes, like moles and tamales, can be made in stages. So take a savory expedition across borders and generations, and celebrate the spirit and flavor of the Mexican-American table with your own family.
In this highly personal and often moving cookbook, Tausend (coauthor of Mexico the Beautiful Cookbook) and Ravago, former owner and chef of an Austin, Tex., restaurant, mine a rich vein: the food that Mexican Americans cook for themselves. Cross-cultural adaptation leads to Green Enchiladas with Spinach and Tofu, Chicken with Spicy Prune Sauce made with Coca-Cola, and Mexican Beef Chow Mein, but more traditional Mexican fare like Guacamole and Braised Chicken with Rice and Vegetables appears as well. Among the best fish dishes are Squid in an Orange Vinaigrette, Red Snapper Veracruz Style and Fish Tacos Ensenada Style. Desserts include Almond Meringue Pudding and Cinnamon Ice Cream with Ice Coffee from an anonymous recipe donor. Essays on Mexican culture in various American states (including Illinois, which has the third-largest Mexican population, after California and Texas), and on such subjects as chiles and capsaicin (the chemical compound that gives peppers their heat) and the Day of the Dead all exhibit great care and a profound respect for Mexican culture. Recipes sport thorough headers, many of which do double-duty as family history lessons. In a nice touch, each recipe lists a place of origin, and often two: one in the U.S. and one in Mexico. Tausend and Ravago successfully illustrate how history, memory and food meld into one.