With the world in a swoon over the gastronomic riches of Spain - from the brilliant array of its traditional tapa dishes to the daring preparations of its new generation of chefs -the timing couldn't be better for the arrival of this long-awaited cookbook. In THE CUISINES OF SPAIN, Teresa Barrenechea, one of the country's most talented culinary ambassadors, showcases her culinary heritage through over 250 recipes culled from her extensive repertoire, and from friends and fellow chefs across Spain. The famed rice dishes of Valencia, the brilliant mojos of the Canary Islands, the hearty stews and braised meats of the interior - all of the classics are here in peak form, as are many lesser-known but equally important and intriguing regional dishes. Steeped in the history of her country, Barrenechea weaves a captivating narrative of Spain's diverse peoples, landscapes, and ingredients, revealing how such forces gave rise to the food traditions that we celebrate today. Over 150 full-color photographs from Barcelona-based photojournalist Jeff Koehler and renowned food photographer Christopher Hirsheimer put Spain's culinary riches on brilliant display. With such a distinguished pairing of author and artists, THE CUISINES OF SPAIN is positioned to be one of the major cookbook releases of the year.
Few have done more to disseminate the delights of Spanish cuisine than Barrenechea. A Spanish native, former New York restaurateur and author of The Basque Table, Barrenchea mixes Spanish history with the 250 recipes in this formidable cookbook. The recipes are grouped by course, and the author suggests some main dishes can, "in small portions, be served as tapas." This should, in theory, make meal-planning fun, but the sheer volume of recipes may intimidate many: there are eight chapters of courses, not counting tapas or sauces, and although Barrenechea insists these recipes do not require "hard-to-find ingredients," Spanish staples like salt cod or blood sausage can prove difficult to locate. Similarly, the author claims "you don't need a lot of specialized equipment," right after she asserts "if you want to cook authentic Spanish dishes," you'll need earthenware casseroles in different sizes, a paella pan, a food mill and a mortar and pestle. Although the recipes are superior-clear, concise, and delicious- this cookbook seems intended more for education than entertainment. Those who are obsessed with Spanish cooking will consider it a treasure; anyone with slightly less interest may feel overwhelmed.