Spanish cuisine, once the neglected stepchild of European culinary exports, has come into its own in the United States, thanks to a recent resurgence in tapas bars and specialty restaurants devoted to its preparation. Now comes serious help for those who don’t merely want to eat glorious dishes from Spain’s many regions, but who want the secrets to preparing them. When Phaidon Press brought The Silver Spoon out in its first English edition, they brought to American cooks their first look at the bible of the modern Italian kitchen. With this indispensible volume, they offer up a similarly overdue translation of 1080 Recipes — Spain’s Joy of Cooking, a bestseller in that country since its publication in 1972. This magnificent edition is at once a thorough guide to every aspect of Spanish cooking and a beautiful work of art. Nearly every page is embellished with full-color pastel drawings newly commissioned for this edition by Spanish artist and graphic designer Javier Mariscal. In his hands, eggplants and artichokes pop off the page, dogs nestle next to fully loaded tables of food, and red wine adds a deep burgundy splash to any meal. Then, there are the recipes, all 1080 of them. The Ortegas provide instructions on how to cure fresh olives at home, more than fifty pages of the tartlets, appetizers and cold plate dishes that make up a good tapas selection, over a half dozen recipes for paella, and desserts like melon and fig aspic. Most ingredients should be easily obtained at any American grocery store (they provide suggestions on how to find more exotic ones) and the recipes are tailored for daily home cooking. This is the kind of cookbook that is so lovely you want to set it on a coffee table for perusing. But it’s most definitely meant to be used. -
About the Author
Amy Benfer has worked as an editor and staff writer at Salon, Legal Affairs, and Paper magazine. Her reviews and features on books have appeared in Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, The Believer, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Times Book Review.