If Mexican food is what you wantthis book is for you. The Mexican food we know today started with the Axtecs growing corn and preparing tamales and tortillas. Chilies, tomatoes, cornmeal or pumpkinseeds were ground into a thick sauce called molli. Seasoned beans, tomatillos (mashed tart fruits), chilies, and avocadoes flavored their guacamoles. The Spanish brought animals which provided beef, pork and chicken. Americans acquired a taste for chili, tortilla chips and nachos. Flour Tortillas, Tacos, Chicken Quesadillas, Fajitas, Salsa, Calabacitas (little squash), Ensallada de Nopalitos (Cactus Salad) are among the foods enjoyed in Mexican restaurants. Each recipe is laid out in a simple but attractive format on the page under "Ingredients and Directions." In a small insert, the "Cooking Utensils You'll Need" are listed and on the opposite page is a beautiful picture of the finished product. The size of the book is nice for laying on a counter or for propping up. The color and design of the whole book is magnificent. The front of the book contains an "Introduction"; "Mexican Culture, History, and Traditions"; "Before You Cook" with safety tips; a "Metric Conversion Table"; "Pan Sizes"; "Useful Tools, Utensils" and a "Cooking Glossary." At the back are further reading and information sources, an index, and credits for the author, recipe tester/food preparer, consultant, and recipe contributor and picture credits. This book is part of the "American Regional Cooking Library: Culture, Tradition, and History" series. The series' consultant is The Culinary Institute of America. Further Reading, For More Information, Index, credit to the Author, Recipe Tester/Food Preparer, Consultant, andRecipe Contributor. Picture Credits are included. 2005, Mason Crest Publishers, Ages 12 to 18.
Gr 5-8-Although The Culinary Institute of America is cited as the series consultant, these disappointing titles fail to provide the clear, explicit instructions that characterize excellent cookbooks for kids. In the section "Useful Tools, Utensils, Dishes," a photo of a blender is captioned "electric mixer" (Southern Appalachia). In the recipes, the ingredients are not consistently listed in the order used, the number of servings produced is not noted, and nutritional information is not given. Instructions are presented in a single paragraph and are at times vague. To prepare "Easy Guacamole" (Mexican American), readers are instructed to "cut avocados in half and scoop out the green flesh," with no mention of how to deal with the often firmly imbedded pit. Because these are collections of authentic regional cuisine, fat and calorie counts are often high. For "Baked Beans" (Southern Appalachia), the instructions say to brown a half pound of lean ground beef, but do not mention draining off any fat before adding the other ingredients. The books include interesting information on the history and traditions behind the dishes, and the large color photos are appealing. Lynn Kuntz and Jan Fleming's American Grub: Eats for Kids from All Fifty States (Gibbs Smith, 2003) combines humorous trivia with a down-home recipe in a fast overview of regional cuisine.-Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.