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Cookbooks About South American Food

Libros de Cocina

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There are more and more cookbooks about Latin American cooking available each year, as the cuisine becomes more popular around the world. My cookbook collection is getting large, and I plan to review them all. This list includes older classics and some newcomers. Some are comprehensive, covering all of Latin America, and others focus on one country, one region, or one type of food. Many are interesting to read even if you don't cook from them, with lots of information about culture and history.

1. The South American Table by Maria Baez Kijac (Harvard Common Press)

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This cookbook has more than 450 recipes, a thorough collection from all over Latin America, and covers a wealth of information about the subject. If you were only to buy one cookbook about South American food, this one is probably the most comprehensive, and is also a very enjoyable read.

2. The Illustrated Food and Cooking of the Caribbean, Central and South America

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This is another cookbook that covers most of Central and South America, with an emphasis on the Caribbean. This cookbook has great descriptions of the different geographic regions and how their cuisines have been influences by history and immigration patterns. There is also an excellent section about the main ingredients in Latin cooking, from potatoes, beans, chile peppers, and squash to the more exotic fruits and vegetables, seafood, and meats. This section includes many useful photos and useful techniques such as how to slice a mango.

3. Secrets of Colombian Cooking by Patricia McCausland-Gallo (Hippocrene Books)

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This is a warm and personal cookbook about Colombian food, written by a Colombian who truly loves her subject. The recipes are extremely authentic, but the author offers very clear instructions and helpful substitutes for hard to find ingredients. She also provides personal anecdotes and many pictures of scenes from Colombia. This is real Colombian cooking from an authority on the subject.

4. Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way by Francis Mallman, with Peter Kaminsky

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Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann, once known for bringing haute French cuisine to Argentina, has returned to his more rustic Patagonian roots. This gorgeous cookbook has more than 100 recipes for cooking all kinds of food (not just meat and seafood) over fire, using seven different techniques (the "seven fires"). The stunning photographs of the food as well as the Patagonian landscapes, the recipes for everything from making basic fry bread to roasting an entire cow, and the plethora of information about cooking, fires, and Patagonia make for a very unique cookbook.

5. The Brazilian Table by Yara Castro Roberts and Richard Roberts

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This cookbook make you want to visit Brazil, thanks to the gorgeous photographs throughout - not only of the food but of the countryside, markets, and wildlife. The recipes are divided by geographic region, and there is an extensive chapter on the most distinctive ingredients used in Brazilian cooking, as well as a chapter on traditional ingredients used in new ways.
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