One of the things I’ve noticed about the World Cup is that this year, it’s really brought into question people’s views on immigration – and for some reason, the American team in particular seems to be a lightening rod. “I mean,” one work colleague said to me, “they’re all born in Germany or Norway, so they’re not really American.” Leaving aside the fact that in the US, soccer has always held particular sway over our immigrant population (what, you think Argentinian or Brazilian fans lose their love of the game when they move to America? Of course not!), it just struck me as such a small minded idea of what an American is. Yes, defenders Timothy Chandler and Fabian Johnson might have been born in Germany, but both have fathers who were American (giving them American citizenship at birth.) Considering that when I have children, they are likely to have similar backgrounds (one American parent, one foreign parent, partially raised outside the US), I just think, “how can you, on the outside, put a label on loyalty and nationality and force a child to choose between their parents?” It ignores how complicated and rich people’s heritages can be.
This really applies to Muy Bueno, a collaboration between Evangelina Soza and her daughters Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack and Veronica Gonzalez-Smith. It’s a lovely representation of the immigrant story through food and recipes of three generations: traditional Northern Mexican cuisine, immigrant Mexican-American dishes and Latin fushion of the current generation. Obviously it doesn’t need saying on a food blog, but Mexican food varies greatly within its diverse regional cuisine and even the authentic immigrant-crafted Mexican food I sampled growing up amongst the mushroom farms of Pennsylvania is far from representative of all Mexican food.
One thing I will say in warning is that a lot of these recipes require frying, a good deep fat fryer would be incredibly helpful – when I started cooking from this book, I convinced Beardy Fiance to let me get a good used one (there are lots of super-cheap, small models on sites like Ebay or Craigslist and even a new smaller model will not cost you that much), although he was not as persuaded on a tortilla press. Most of the recipes are very spicy, meat based – so perhaps not ideal for vegetarians, but some fun vegetarian foods like Mexican macaroni and cheese and spicy mushroom torta with cheese are in there as well.
I would definitely recommend this cookbook for anyone who is interested in authentic Mexican food and moving beyond Tex-Mex. And so, I am giving away a copy of Muy Bueno, along with a pack of Mextrade chilis to get you started on the Mexican flavour. Entering is super easy, just leave a comment telling me about your favourite Mexican food. For extra entries, leave me a message telling me you follow me on Facebook or on Twitter! The giveaway will run until the 1st of August.
I received a copy to review and giveaway from Hippocrene Books, but all opinions are my own. And this post does contain affiliate links – a girl’s gotta pay for her cookbook addiction!