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the recipes are not tested, who in their right minds uses 4 kilos of ingredients (meat, veg potatoes etc) and recommends a half teaspoon of salt? And then recommends that the 4 kilos of ingredients will feed 6? Excuse me? Plus all the photos are stock images, meaning they are NOT of the recipe once cooked, they are gleaned off then internet as the recipes have not been tested. Avoid.
This is a well-organized book, great photos, one with every recipe. The tip section is helpful. The book came with a piece of paper inserted because there is missing information on a couple pages. That was a first. I'm also not sure how authentic/traditional the recipes are. I don't know about all the countries but for example, I would not include chicken fajitas as authentic Mexican. From what I understand it was developed by Mexican ranch hands in Texas and traditionally used skirt steak, also going by another name. There are so many wonderful traditional Mexican foods, it would have been nice to see recipes like pozole, tacos al pastor and chiles en nogada vs fajitas, nachos, and guacamole. Despite this, the recipes are thorough and well written.
So I totally bought this for someone and then kept it for myself (I did order a new one for that person) because I saw the recipes and a lot of them are favorite Hispanic dishes I love and some I had never made and wanted to try. I made the Chilean manjar (caramel) and I have tried making a homemade dulce de leche that was thick like in the stores and never found a winning recipe. I found it. Tastes great, homemade and thick! I cannot wait to make more recipes! Glad I decided to keep it!
This is designed to be an introduction to popular and interesting Latin American cuisine - and at that, it excels. Those few customer reviews that bemoan that some dishes are too obvious or Americanized (e.g. fahitas), misses the point. There are other more advanced or deep dive books for that. For instance, I have "Argentina Cooks!" which explores that cuisine by 10 regions. Here is what this Latin American cookbook DOES HAVE: 1) an expert and experienced author in Patricia Cartin, native of Costa Rica 2) RECIPE SUCCESS: I am an amateur home enthusiast with about 75 coobooks (none like this one) and have cooked over 500 different dishes (I keep a spreadsheet list). I can give a dish an "A" and still never make it again because there is so much frontier out there! I got two other new cookbooks at the same time and have already made 5 dishes out of Latim America (2 and 1 for those other two cookbooks). Jumping into 5 dishes in the first month says something right there. They were: 1) a Brazilian fish stew - solid, 2) cream of avocado soup, superior to my past attempt - will definitely make again, 3) a Peruvian tuna salad that reminded me a bit of a French Nicoise salad since it also had hard boiled eggs, onion and potatoes. Both very tasty, and because it was molded it has PRESENTATION quality. When this Covid-19 thing subsides, it will go to a friends potluck party, 4) cocount rice - great, will make again and 5) ham croquette: I especially like the cooking tecnique and imagine I will try it with shrimp. So 5 recipes: no losers, 4 will be done again (albeit one with shrimp instead) and one presentation quality! For me, that is an impressive score card! 3) BOOK LAYOUT: BTW: I am low vision and am even using special sight assist software to do this email. But my perspective should not be considered as only for my select minority. After all, who does not appreciate crisp black fonts? The INGREDIENTS and DIRECTIONS are in bold and practically always in the same place on the page. The directions are numbered and not wordy. The fonts are clean. Great! The TOC is outstanding. Recipes organized by country. They are listed in both native language and English in bold. Ellipsis dots to the specific page number. It is all laid out there perfectly.
It is almost as if the layout artist understood that these items are supposed to convey information!!! In contrast, a Caribbean cookbook I got at the same time felt the need to be cool and used some weird sdriptive calligraphy in a limited TOC and some angular kitchy bambbo font. I had trouble with thesee, even with a strong magnifier. The Latin America cookbook even has thick semi-gloss great feeling sturdy pages to go along with the hardback. Built to last! I can be a tough judge, but this book smoothes my feathers and soothes the soul. Nothing but good.
I agree with the other reviewer the I question how authentic the recipes are. For example, the Mexico section includes huevos rancheros, nachos, and fajitas, all of which are really Tex-Mex dishes. The dishes themselves are also fairly repetitive. There are a lot of fish stew recipes, for example, that are only mildly different. There’s multiple recipes for arepas, tomales, and croquetas, for example. Each is a slightly different with a local twist, but it feels redundant. I know the author was dividing recipes by country, which I generally like, but it would have been nice to somehow combine these with an extra box explaining regional modifications and give us additional recipes. Honestly, I’ll probably keep the book (for now) but I’m not sure how often I’ll actually cook from it. It feels a lot like toned down/curated recipes made easy for Americans to cook. Which has the upside of being fairly strait-forward and having readily available ingredients. But if you’re like myself and think if cooking as somewhat of an adventure, you may find this book underwhelming.