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Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin Americaby Maricel E. Presilla
Synopses & Reviews
Gran Cocina Latina unifies the vast culinary landscape of the Latin world, from Mexico to Argentina and all the Spanish-speaking countries of the Caribbean. In one volume it gives home cooks, armchair travelers, and curious chefs the first comprehensive collection of recipes from this region. An inquisitive historian and a successful restaurateur, Maricel E. Presilla has spent more than thirty years visiting each country personally. She’s gathered more than 500 recipes for the full range of dishes, from the foundational adobos and sofritos to empanadas and tamales to ceviches and moles to sancocho and desserts such as flan and tres leches cake. Detailed equipment notes, drink and serving suggestions, and color photographs of finished dishes are also included. This is a one-of-a-kind cookbook to be savored and read as much for the writing and information as for its introduction to heretofore unrevealed recipes.
"Presilla, who runs a restaurant in Hoboken, N.J., and holds a doctorate in medieval Spanish history, offers this bible of Latin American food. Well researched, organized, and impressive, this book covers dishes from Mexico, Argentina, and the Hispanic Caribbean. Born in Cuba, Presilla has a passion for Latin food that's beautifully illustrated in her latest work. Her goal, she explains is 'to adapt and transform the elemental beauty and tastes of Latin American cooking to the modern kitchen, while respecting the food's primary flavors, and to create earthy, intensely flavored dishes.' Presilla includes more than 500 recipes for everything from tropical roots to empanadas and meat dishes of every kind. Some are dishes that Presilla learned as a child cooking with her family (she combines personal stories with her recipes) like 'My Grandmother's Ajiaco,' a soup made with starchy vegetables and dried beef. Others have been interpreted for the home cook, such as yucca bread. Presilla describes the primitive tools used by native people of the Orinoco and Amazon basins, but provides a recipe that uses a food processor to grind the yucca. This comprehensive collection is fascinating, informative, and stunning." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The food of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking New World is complex, intricate, and has variety and range, extending from Cuba to Ecuador and from Mexico to Brazil. Maricel Presilla, a chef and food historian, takes us through that whole continent in a comprehensible, intelligent, original, and delicious voyage." Jacques Pépin
"Gran Cocina Latina is one glorious adventure the likes of which we’ve not seen in a long time. A food scholar is one thing. A scholar who can cook like an angel, write a sound recipe and understands peoples and their ways because she learned from them first hand, that is a rare find. Maricel Presilla is all this. She knows how (and why) women in the high Andes stomp their frozen potatoes with their bare feet because she’s done it with them. She's taken on an entire continent’s worth of challenging cuisines and cultures and turned them into a page turner, at least for me. Books like this don’t happen very often so drink it in and know it will still be in your kitchen ten years from now." Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Host of The Splendid Table®, public radio's national food show from American Public Media
"Accomplished professionally both as scholar and restaurateur, Cuban-born Presilla knows just about everything there is to know about the vast history and geography of the cooking of the Western Hemisphere’s Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking lands, and her eagerness to share this lore with her readers is almost palpable. Virtually every recipe in this massive volume comes loaded with cultural, historical, and culinary background....In one of her most telling disquisitions, Presilla delineates how cooking has in fact liberated many creative and entrepreneurial Latinas and helped them thrive in a decidedly male-dominated culture....This comprehensive and meticulously wrought reference book belongs in every library’s cookery collection." Booklist, Starred Review
"This book not only answers the how but the why as well. Maricel is our bridge to the past, the history of Latin American cocina, describing the original connections to Spain and its cooking and then what has evolved...more aromas, more textures, more flavors, more sexy ingredients. We can now understand Latin America better because of Maricel and the amazing foods that tell its rich history." José Andrés
"I know of no other book that approaches the scholarship, passion and decades-long dedication that Maricel Presilla has lavished on Gran Cocina Latina." Rick Bayless
"Gran Cocina Latina is a book as grand as its subject. It’s a beautifully written distillation of Maricel Presilla’s decades of experience in the markets and kitchens of Latin America. I can’t imagine a better guide to this vast and underappreciated region. Maricel is a scholar, food importer, restaurateur, tireless explorer, and above all is passionate about everything she does. Gran Cocina Latina explains clearly how to bring the special flavors of Latin America to our own tables." Harold McGee
How to cook everything Latin American.
About the Author
Maricel E. Presilla is the co-owner of Zafra and Cucharamama, two Latin restaurants in Hoboken, New Jersey. She holds a doctorate in medieval Spanish history from New York University and lives in Weehawken, New Jersey.
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