Flexibound: 318 pages
Publisher: Phaidon Press (September 28, 2015)
Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.1 x 10 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #21,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #18 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > Mexican #48 in Books > Reference > Encyclopedias & Subject Guides > Cooking #57 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Cooking Education & Reference > Reference
I so very badly want to give this book five stars.It's the closest any book could ever come to explaining Mexican taco culture to an outsider, in all its informal, hyper-local, insanely delicious diversity and variety. I've learned about tacos I never heard about even when I lived there, and there are interviews, quotes, and even social media posts from taco fanatics and chefs that bring deep dimension to the taco. It's loaded with cartoons, maps, funny illustrations, interviews, and other errata that's just delightful. Representative recipes are included, too. It's a fond, rich book-length love letter to a food and its surrounding culture that I love too, and it's inspired me to go on a weeklong taco binge of epic proportions. I wouldn't even necessarily call it a cookbook, as most of its running length is essays, profiles, and description rather than recipes.However, there are two major demerits.- The book is cheap. Dull, rough stock, an odd, floppy cover, and construction that doesn't inspire confidence. It's a damned shame that this didn't come with a hard cover and wasn't printed on the glossy stock that its vibrant colors, cartoons, and photography demand. This is the sort of paper novels and so on are printed on - and not the nice first-run hardcovers, but more like that of a paperback. This is a book that will never be used in the kitchen. because a grease splot would soak through the next five pages.- The recipes are hit or miss: Many of the included recipes skip steps, assume familiarity with Mexican techniques, and vaguely mention techniques that many Americans will not know. I've been cooking this stuff for years, but a newbie Mexican chef would be up a creek with many of the recipes.
I LOVE this book. It is a glorious, colorful, celebratory explosion of food, culture, history, recipes, lore, images, and much more. It is rich with insightful information. It is loaded with great recipes: I have a truly huge cookbook collection with a strong core on Mexican food. I am also a taco addict, having been raised in LA's Lincoln Heights and then SF's Mission District. I have a number of good books addressing tacos (Rick Bayless and Tacolicious come to mind...), but this book jumped way to the top: the section on birria alone was my reason to buy it, with excellent background on and recipes/methods for this. The classic pork al pastor is quite excellent...but since we don't eat pork, the reference to using other meats/poultry/fish with this same method was a welcome revelation. There is so much excellent content on sauces, salsas, taco-relatives including flautas/taquitos, enchiladas, quesadillas, tortillas and more....touching on all without ever losing the taco focus...it is awesome.BUT, PLEASE NOTE: this is a very "non-linear" book in terms of organization, and how many recipes cross-reference to others, and with a wildly exuberant graphic presentation and layout....it is fun, colorful, encourages exploration, packed with tidbits, essays, images and more...so, IF you need a very traditonal, logical, methodical, exacting layout , THIS MAY NOT BE FOR YOU! I am saying this to warn folks in advance so they don't trash the authors with low-ratings for the author's wonderfully creative and fun approach to this iconic street food. You may have to dig around a bit to get into your subject/recipe of interest: the book is designed to engage you that way, and it is way cool! It effectively uses graphics, pop-up text inserts, photos etc to convey info.