I bought a Mexican cookbook last month which I wanted to take with me on the road, so that I could whip up my very own street food no matter where I was in the world. Now I will say that I maybe should have investigated a little more, but how bad can a cookbook really be? All I was looking for was some info on making my own tortillas, a decent salsa recipe and perhaps some ideas on making things like migas, birria, chile en nogada or carnitas, something like that.
This book however has to be the very worst that I have ever come across and if the truth were to be told, I can’t believe that the book has even been published, the Mexicans should be in uproar, and here is why.
Use of Words
The idea of a Mexican cookbook should be to provide some great information on Mexican meals, not the anglicized version of them. Use of words like mutton for barbacoa only work when you first preface it with ‘much like the mutton in the US, barbacoa is…’ This book just straight up calls things whatever they want, and that can get pretty damn confusing for anyone who is looking for an introduction to Mexican food.
For me the ultimate sin for any cookbook is asking the reader to have a wealth of ridiculous machinery and devices that they would only ever need for that meal. For example, when this book talks about tortillas, it talks about a tortilla machine for flattening the tortilla, that makes sense and of course not everyone would have one but if you are living in Mexico then you would get a great amount of use out of it. It doesn’t however offer any alternatives, and the worst thing of all is the instructions for Tacos el Pastor, where it suggests that having your very own kebab spit would be a good idea, absolutely absurd.
Possibly the worst thing about this book is that the information is just plain wrong, and that is something which grinds my gears a great deal. It is almost as if someone has just guessed which states the food has come from and what the history are surrounding the traditions, at one point it even discusses the history of the hard shell taco, which as anyone who has been to Mexico will know is called a tostada and is not even related to traditional tacos.
This has been the worst cookbook that I have ever read in my life, I have promptly given it a single, solitary star on every review site which I have left, and to be honest that is only because there is no possibility to leave less.