Synopses & Reviews
In 1991 Ruth Reichl, then a Los Angeles Times
food writer, observed that much of the style now identified with California cuisine, and with nouvelle cuisine du Mexique,
was practiced by Encarnaciand#243;n Pinedo a century earlier. A landmark of American cuisine first published in 1898 as El cocinero espaand#241;ol (The Spanish Cook), Encarnaciand#243;n's Kitchen
is the first cookbook written by a Hispanic in the United States, as well as the first recording of Californio foodand#151;Mexican cuisine prepared by the Spanish-speaking peoples born in California. Pinedo's cookbook offers a fascinating look into the kitchens of a long-ago culture that continues to exert its influence today.
Of some three hundred of Pinedo's recipes included hereand#151;a mixture of Basque, Spanish, and Mexicanand#151;many are variations on traditional dishes, such as chilaquiles, chiles rellenos, and salsa (for which the cook provides fifteen versions). Whether describing how to prepare cod or ham and eggs (a typical Anglo dish labeled "huevos hipand#243;critas"), Pinedo was imparting invaluable lessons in culinary history and Latino culture along with her piquant directions. In addition to his lively, clear translation, Dan Strehl offers a remarkable view of Pinedo's family history and of the material and literary culture of early California cooking. Prize-winning journalist Victor Valle puts Pinedo's work into the context of Hispanic women's testimonios of the nineteenth century, explaining how the book is a deliberate act of cultural transmission from a traditionally voiceless group.
A century ago, Encarnacion Pinedo produced El Cocinero Espanol (The Spanish Cook), the first Hispanic cookbook in America, put into the cultural context of the Californios, the Spanish speaking peoples of California. The first and only contemporary account of how Mexican food was prepared in CA during the 19th century.
"It's a rare cookbook that is as pleasurable to think about as it is to cook from. But that's what Dan Strehl has accomplished with his elegant translation of Encarnaciand#243;nand#8217;s Kitchen,
a book that provides a fascinating look at the life and cooking of the wealthy Californios in the final days of the rich Rancho culture of California."and#151;Russ Parsons, author of How to Read a French Fry
"At long last! It is with enormous pleasure that I greet Dan Strehland#8217;s authoritative English translation, Encarnaciand#243;nand#8217;s Kitchen. I should like to have had the original Spanish edition as well, but I dream."and#151;Karen Hess, author of The Carolina Rice Kitchen
"Encarnaciand#243;nand#8217;s Kitchen is far more than a historical curiosity, or a mere kitchen fragment that sketches silhouettes of ingredients and techniques. The recipes of Encarnaciand#243;n Pinedoand#8217;s kitchen, brought alive and set in context by Dan Strehl (and Victor Valleand#8217;s lucid introduction), offer rich examples of how Californiaand#8217;s Mexican culinary culture developed as it bumped intoand#151;and cross-pollinated withand#151;young, multifarious America. These dishes lay bare the often overlooked reality that food can be more than a reflection of culture. Food, as Encarnaciand#243;n understood, can be a seductively delicious catalyst for social understanding, change, even rebellious protest."and#151;Rick Bayless, author of Mexico One Plate at a Time
About the Author
Manager of the Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, is the author of The Spanish Cook (
1992) and One Hundred Books on California Food and Wine
(1990). Victor Valle
is Director of the American Communities Program at Cal State
Univerisity Los Angeles, Professor of Ethnic Studies at California Polytechnic
State University, coauthor of Recipe of Memory (1995), and a member of a Los Angeles Times team that won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the Chicano community in Los Angeles.
Table of Contents
A Curse of Tea and Potatoes: The Life and Recipes of Encarnación Pinedo
In Encarnacións Kitchen
El cocinero españolThe Spanish Cook
A Note on the Text
Introduction: The Art of Cooking
Sopas, Pan, HuevosSoups, Breads, Eggs
Verduras y MaízVegetable and Corn Dishes
DulcesDesserts and Sweets
Ingredients and Procedures