The culmination of close to 30 years of research, Gran Cocina Latina – The Insider’s Culinary Guide To Latin America is by restaurateur and food historian Maricel E. Presilla. It contains more than 500 carefully selected recipes represent techniques and approaches from individual regions as well as drawing attention to recurrent themes linking many corners of the Latin American map. Dishes range from empanadas and tamales to salads, breads, and desserts and can be used by both the novice home cook and the seasoned chef.
Gran Cocina Latina takes home cooks, armchair travellers, and curious food professionals on an epic voyage. For the book, Presilla has travelled to every country of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Americas. In the process she’s feasted on gutsy Brazilian home meals with her favorite taxi driver in Salvador da Bahia, cooked in the southern Ecuadorian Andes with matriarchs who rule their kitchens with their soup spoons (cucharamamas), and eaten innovative cebiches by leading chefs on Peru’s vibrant restaurant scene.
Presilla sorts through the local foods and dishes to get to their roots and shows how these became fused with Old and New World ingredients. It means Spanish elements such as onions, garlic, and coriander marrying in the cooking pot with pre-Columbian ingredients like peppers, corn, potatoes, and peanuts as well as African plantains and yams. There are also some relatively undiscovered (in the Western world) flavours like golden mirasol dried peppers, the mamey fruit and Andean root vegetable arracacha, plus many varieties of artisanal Latin brown loaf sugar. There’s a section on Latin drinks from hot chocolate to pisco sours, tropical fruit caipirinhas, and Peruvian purple corn fruit punch.
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