The Food of Oaxaca: Recipes and Stories from Mexico’s Culinary Capital

Knopf. Mar. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9780525657309. $35. COOKING
In this wide-ranging collection, chef Ruiz celebrates the vibrant food of his home state, often considered to be the culinary capital of Mexico, with a collection of recipes that focus on the theme of community. For Ruiz, food represents customs that have been passed down through generations. After a foreword by chef Enrique Olvera that helps bring to life the rich heritage of Oaxaca, Ruiz shares his personal story, with insight into his difficult childhood and his ultimate turn to cooking as a means to cope with grief. From here, community becomes a recurring subject, with Ruiz noting that recipes are drawn from times and places in his life that have significantly affected him. Eschewing formalities such as breakfast or dinner, the author presents this series of complex dishes as they are, noting that they can be eaten whenever home cooks feel inspired to do so. Vivid illustrations highlight dishes such as heirloom tomato salad and lamb chips in pitiona sauce.
VERDICT A rich resource showcasing Oaxacan cuisine that will have readers coming back for the shared stories.
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