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reading tiger

...and, Reading Wednesday!

COOKBOOKS. An ARC of Mission Chinese Food and spanking-new copies of Jacques Pepin's Heart and Soul in the Kitchen, Supper at Rancho Gordo and Eat Mexico.

I've noticed a rising tide of really interesting (and good) Mexican cookbooks published by actual Mexican people lately, which pleases me much because The Border Cookbook is awesome but come on, can't we have a little more variety once in a while? Diana Kennedy mellowed in her old age but she started out as that white-person gatekeeper-of-the-authentic that I just cannot stand any longer (see also: Paula Wolfert, who I will never, ever forgive for that magazine interview in which they took her to Morocco and she complained that the dish she was served was not in the proper regional style for the location), and Rick Bayless is charming and all but is still Columbusing the shit out of things. I should note while I rant here that the author of Eat Mexico, Lesley Tellez, isn't Mexican either, but she is Californian-Hispanic, speaks Spanish, and graduated from the Escuela de Gastronomia Mexicana, so she is on the continuum and I am not going to play white-person gatekeeper here, either. She is doing "look what I found when I lived (and later ran professional tours) in Mexico City!" but like I said, no gatekeeping, I like the fact that she keeps things personal and without a wisp of pretention toward authoritative or definitive versions of anything.

Other cookbooks I am thinking of: Hugo Ortega's Street Food of Mexico and Roberto Santibañez's Truly Mexican, the latter of which has been hugely helpful to me.

Also, a link to an article on "The Authenticity Trap of Mexican Food in America", because it seems relevant.

Also, I need to eat a lot more beans. Hence, Rancho Gordo, who coincidentally is also one of the main reasons *why* I need to eat a lot more beans, or so says my pantry. (The other is Bean World, a.k.a. Phipps Country Farm in Pescadero, which apparently closed late last year -- possibly a victim of the drought? -- and I am deeply sad about this, because spending a long afternoon with the kids chasing barn kittens and admiring the birds and goats and so on was a fine, fine way to spend some time.)

And now I am stuck with my memories of my grandfather lecturing me on the origin of fajitas and how to make chorizo. :P


I hadn't heard that Phipps closed! So sad, I loved that place. I'm glad Rancho Gordo is getting people interested in the vast variety of beans out there, and I know he's done a lot of good stuff, but it still feels terribly chichi to me. Rick Bayless Columbusing -- oh yeah, plus his charm is lost on me, though I did enjoy the meal I had at a couple of his restaurants, esp. at the airport. (So how long before 'columbusing' becomes a common verb?!)
Yes, I just found out when I went to look for a link that Phipps is closed.

Rancho Gordo beans are more than a little chichi, it's true. One terribly embarrassing factor is that their packages are perfect for two batches of beans, though, so I keep telling myself "well, I will just try this one out..." whenever I run across them, and so now I have a pantry full of odd varieties of beans that I've picked up along the way.
Was that the artichoke bread place? If so: Oh man. Sad.