CUISINE OF THE WATER GODS by Patricia Quintana


The Authentic Seafood and Vegetable Cookery of Mexico
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 Quintana (The Tastes of Mexico, not reviewed, etc.) and food writer Bishop throw readers off the deep end in this guide to the regional cuisine of coastal Mexico: It is inaccessibly organized according to 16 coastal states, contains local characters of the author's creation who introduce each chapter with personal histories, and calls for difficult-to-find ingredients without offering substitutions or a resource guide. The food itself is right for these health-conscious times, with most dishes based on seafood and vegetables. The radish salad with lime, cilantro, and onion is tart and light; the striped bass with marjoram is delicately served in its own juice. Only a few entries feel heavy, such as the steamed trout overpowered by salsa made with a cup and a half of feta cheese. But the book lacks the necessary organization for a serious cook: There's no separation by type of dish, nor any consistent order to the recipes within the 16 chapters. If you do hit upon something to make, you must then try to find chayotes (water pears), pasilla negr¢ chiles, or pulque (a fermented alcoholic beverage made from cactus sap). Quintana's directions are clear, although a multitude of steps make many of the meals too complicated for novices. The regional history in chapter openings and subheads offers an engaging focus. Messy presentation of mostly marvelous food. (Map; 2-color art, line drawings, not seen)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-671-74898-X
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1994


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by Aaron Sanchez