This article is from the March 1997 The Mexico File newsletter.
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Book Review
The Art of Mexican Cooking

By Martha Chapa.
(Mexico: Editorial Everest Mexicana, ISBN 968-46-0032-1, 1988)

This book is an indigenous classic written by a true artist who, in the tradition of the late M.F.K. Fisher, understands the linkage between food, lovingly and beautifully prepared, and the sustenance of the soul. She begins her book with this statement: "Without any shadow of a doubt the human act of eating constitutes a link between the material and the spiritual." When your sensibilities are offended often, too often it seems, by a world awash in MacDonalds and Pizza Huts and Taco Bells, pull out this book. In Balzac’s words, "Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are."

This English book, produced entirely in Mexico, is one of recipes (with ingredients generally available north of the border) and beautiful photographs which are elegant in their artistry, purity and simplicity. These recipes will nurture your senses and evoke that special ineffable feeling you get in Mexico through food prepared well and lovingly.

Close your eyes and think of veal in avocado leaves. How about loin of pork in coconut sauce? What subtle flavors have to reside in cream of coriander soup? And what pleasures must inhabit egg-topped avocados in hollandaise sauce? Think of prawns in mango sauce. Where would dry beans with pulque send you? Right into the soul of Mexico.