Mexicana!, by Esther Clark is the cooking book for all those who want to launch a Mexican party and don’t know where to start from. I got the book because I spotted a good deal on Amazon and was curious about the author’s takes on Mexican food. Being honest, I hadn’t got big expectations about this book because of the gastronomic terrorism perpetrated by gringos to Mexican food. How happy I am of being wrong!
The author does her homework nicely by introducing the reader to the basic ingredients of Mexican cuisine. From there she develops a good number of recipes that mix the Mexican tradition with some international flavours already known by the British public, like the Spiced Squash, Feta and Mint Chermoula Tacos (page 24) or the Middle Eastern Lamb Nachos (page 64).
Esther Clark, a food stylist and writer herself, does not beat around the bush and starts her book with the tacos. She shows the reader how to make her own corn tortillas, featuring recipes for all tastes and walks of life, vegetarian and vegan included. Then, we’ve got the nachos, an unbeatable dish in any party, with interesting takes like the Lamb Nachos mentioned before, or the Smoky Crispy Chicken & Charred Corn Nachos (page 62), a total festival of flavours.
All things fiesta!
Tacos and nachos are amazing but, being sincere, do not make a Mexican party itself. But worry not, this book has you covered with chapters dedicated to snacks, sweet treats and drinks. Special mention to the little chapter of Sauces and Pickles, where Esther Clark shows she knows what she is talking about with her original but authentic salsas.
To water down this feast and lift you up, there are some interesting drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. I’m curious about the Frozen Watermelon & Strawberry Margarita (page 127) and the Papaya, Lime and Chilli Agua Fresca (page 133) but knowing myself I’m totally sure I will end up adding tequila to the papaya agua fresca. 😉 That’s what my body is demanding after being 21 days without alcohol.
Mexicana!, in conclusion, is a very good book for those who have an interest in Mexican food and want to introduce themselves to this amazing world without looking like a gringo whose concept of Mexican food is Old El Paso. So, why don’t get yourself a nice tortilla press and make your hands dirty kneading some authentic corn tortillas?