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edwardsboi

Mexican Cookbooks: Kennedy or Bayless?

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If you could only read and use one cookbook on mexican cooking, which author would you choose and why? How would you characterize the difference between these two cookbook authors?

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I haven't seen/read any of the Kennedy books. But I am a big fan of Rick Bayless. I have his "Mexican Everyday" book. I think it's great. My favorite part is all of his suggestions for changes, substutions and variations for the recipes. He calls them "riffs". They are really great and help you understand that the recipe is just a starting point and not something set in stone. Not sure if he does the same in his other books, but I suspect that even if he doesn't, the other books are great. I plan to pickup at least one more. Not sure which one, though.

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Kennedy is an encyclopedic chronicler of the nuances of Mexican regional cooking. Bayless is no slouch, but his project has more often emphasized translation of those cuisines and principles into dishes that can be easily made in a Western home.

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I have a number of Kennedy's cookbook's and have been using them for almost 20 years. I have read all of Bayless and consider Kennedy to be definitive. Her 'Cusines of Mexico' is as fine a treatise on Mexican cooking and ingrediants/methods as you will find. Her 'The Art of Mexican Cooking' is a later work and the two form as good a base as one could want.

Even in Mexico I believe Kennedy is looked on as definitive.-Dick

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As others have noted, both authors offer a great deal. Kennedy certainly gives you a broader picture and understanding of the landscape of Mexican cuisine. Bayless's recipes are winners and will certainly ensure accolades from your guests. I turn to Bayless for sure fire hits and use Kennedy when I want to explore a particular recipe, region or ingredient a bit more. Why don't you check them out from the library and test them out?

Another stunner is Patricia Quintana. Her recipes are perhaps a bit more complicated but they are sensational. Her book, Feasts of Life, is outstanding.

Paul

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I agree with Chris. I'm from Chicago, but I refer to Diana Kennedy's "Essentials" cookbook more often. Kennedy's recipes seem to have a more traditional feel to it, mainly because specific regions of origin are included (michoacan, yucatan, etc.). A lot of her material also seem to be old family recipes.

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Kennedy's books seemed rather inaccessible to me until I delved into Bayless. I should add that only own one book by each of them, but Rick just made it seem so much easier. Having done many things out of his book, Diana's book seems much more approachable. Rick puts things in much more mid-western terms and ingredients.

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I haven't seen/read any of the Kennedy books. But I am a big fan of Rick Bayless. I have his "Mexican Everyday" book.  I think it's great.  My favorite part is all of his suggestions for changes, substutions and variations for the recipes. He calls them "riffs".  They are really great and help you understand that the recipe is just a starting point and not something set in stone.  Not sure if he does the same in his other books, but I suspect that even if he doesn't, the other books are great.  I plan to pickup at least one more. Not sure which one, though.

I am so with you, Jeff. I've owned Kennedy for almost 20 years and I've cooked from it, but occasionally. She's like other food fundamentalist goddesses -- um, Santa Marcella? -- but even less accessible for the home cook.

Mexican Everyday was a breath of fresh air for the home cook, and I sorta believe more authentic in the day-to-day. I can't recommend it too highly.

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I've been cooking from One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless, and now I'm ready to buy one or two more Mexican cookbooks.

So, if I'm going to get one of Diane Kennedy's, which one should I get? Essential Cuisines? My Mexican Kitchen? Something else?

And I see that there's a 20th Anniversary edition of Bayless's Authentic Mexican -- is that something I should consider?

I've enjoyed cooking from Bayless, and I like his approach, but I'm thinking that from what people have said here, Kennedy could provide some good background, whether or not I actually cook from her books.

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Kennedy is an encyclopedic chronicler of the nuances of Mexican regional cooking. Bayless is no slouch, but his project has more often emphasized translation of those cuisines and principles into dishes that can be easily made in a Western home.

Is Mexican food not Western? Or do you really mean an American kitchen (as in United States of)

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I agree that they sort of complement each other. I have not really cooked from Kennedy, but she has given me a good feel and understanding for the heart and essence of the cuisine. My first thought is always to get as many of their books from the library as you can to sort of pre-view them and then decide on purchase. Once you peruse them you will see the difference we are talking about and most probably decide on one of each.


Edited by heidih (log)

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My one Bayliss book is Authentic Mexican. Is this not representative of his other books? It strikes me as fiercely authentic, and so full of recipes that seem geared towards a kitchen full of daughters spending days preparing feasts, that I've used it more for salivating than actual cooking.

Are Kennedy's books even more authentic and impractical than this one??

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One last thought, you simply need to shop at a 'Supermercado' and use Mexican style products. The meat cuts are different, sour cream is different, oregeno is different and so on. Most of these ingrediants are now made Mexican style in the US. Those that are not, are readily available.

Learning to cook authentic cusine is not just looking up one recipe in a book and using what's available at your local grocery store.-Dick

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Take Kennedy from the library to learn. Buy Bayless to cook.

I second Maggie's comment. I have one rule about buying cookbooks. If I check it out of the library, and then renew it not once but twice (and not because it has sat on the bedside table un-looked at), then get it. Do not buy sight unseen or untried.

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My one Bayliss book is Authentic Mexican. Is this not representative of his other books? It strikes me as fiercely authentic, and so full of recipes that seem geared towards a kitchen full of daughters spending days preparing feasts, that I've used it more for salivating than actual cooking.

I have that book and also Mexico One Plate at a Time. I think your perception of Authentic Mexican is correct, but it does seem to me that Bayless simplified his approach in his later books that most people here seem to be referencing.

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I haven't read either books, but I always assumed that Bayless, with his restaurant background, wrote a more restauranty cookbook, if you know what I mean.

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How about 'Mexico the Beautiful' or 'Savoring Mexico'?

Does anyone recommend either of these two?

Edited to include links:

Mexico: The Beautiful Cookbook by Susanna Palazuelos

http://www.amazon.com/Mexico-Beautiful-Coo...s/dp/000215949X

Savoring Mexico by Marilyn Tausend

http://www.amazon.com/Savoring-Mexico-Reci...n/dp/0737020490


Edited by Ce'nedra (log)

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I haven't read either books, but I always assumed that Bayless, with his restaurant background, wrote a more restauranty cookbook, if you know what I mean.

I only have the "Mexican Everyday" book, and it's clearly made for the home cook and, as the title suggests, pretty simple preparations for everyday cooking.

I've watched a lot of his show, where they cover stuff from more than one book, and it mostly revolves around cooking at home for entertaining guests. Not really "restauranty", either.

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Just buzz, but: along with Oprahs's chef, Rick is on the short list for White House Exec Chef. I think he'd be great, if he can step aside from his restaurants. Vamos Rick, vamos Chicago.

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I have a number of Kennedy's cookbook's and have been using them for almost 20 years. I have read all of Bayless and consider Kennedy to be definitive. Her 'Cusines of Mexico' is as fine a treatise on Mexican cooking and ingrediants/methods as you will find. Her 'The Art of Mexican Cooking' is a later work and the two form as good a base as one could want.

Even in Mexico I believe Kennedy is looked on as definitive.-Dick

So, which Kennedy book would you recommend to a beginner but a beginner with access to a supermercado?

And, conversely, which Bayless book should a beginner use?


Edited by edwardsboi (log)

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I have a number of Kennedy's cookbook's and have been using them for almost 20 years. I have read all of Bayless and consider Kennedy to be definitive. Her 'Cusines of Mexico' is as fine a treatise on Mexican cooking and ingrediants/methods as you will find. Her 'The Art of Mexican Cooking' is a later work and the two form as good a base as one could want.

Even in Mexico I believe Kennedy is looked on as definitive.-Dick

So, which Kennedy book would you recommend to a beginner but a beginner with access to a supermercado?

And, conversely, which Bayless book should a beginner use?

'The Art of Mexican Cooking' which is a later work.-Dick

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Because of this thread I picked up Mexican Everyday by Bayless. My first impressions are that its a wonderful beginner book. I am in college with limited money and resources and I still think I can cook most of the stuff in there. I'll post again after I have the chance to read more into it.

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How about 'Mexico the Beautiful' or 'Savoring Mexico'?

Does anyone recommend either of these two?

Edited to include links:

Mexico: The Beautiful Cookbook by Susanna Palazuelos

http://www.amazon.com/Mexico-Beautiful-Coo...s/dp/000215949X

Savoring Mexico by Marilyn Tausend

http://www.amazon.com/Savoring-Mexico-Reci...n/dp/0737020490

I do. Marilyn Tausend doesn't get nearly as much press as Diana or Rick (and she is very, very good friends with both). The recipes are sound and easy to follow.

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