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Caarina

Diccionario Enciclopedico de Gastronomia mexicana

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Diccionario Enciclopedio de la Gastronomia mexicana

Ricardo Munoz Zurita

Editorial Clio

Mexico DF: 2000

ISBN: 9706630945

624 pages

Recently, my DH took a trip to Mexico City for a work obligation and I of course had to send along an "encargo." The only item on my wish list: this Diccionario written by Ricardo Munoz Zurita.

Because of the high price of the book in the US (Amazon had it for $90 USD), I asked for my hubby to look for it for me. DH got the book in Coyoacan at Liberia Gandhi for $300 MXP. However, now that I have it in my hands, to me it would have been worth it to pay the $90 USD.

I really respect the work of Ricardo, and I had met him once at a book signing here in San Diego where I purchased two of his previous books, Los chiles rellenos en Mexico and La comida en los Almdendros.

The book is 624 pages of detail on practically every ingredient, utensil, cooking technique or serving item used in Mexican cooking with color photographs. Every Mexican state has an overview of their cuisine. Each entry comes with detail on the use of the ingredient or object, it's regional uses/variations and most entries have photographs.

For example, the section on tamales is very detailed, with charts of the types of fillings identified by culinary region and other graphs charting out the tamal wrappers by geography. 20 pages of descriptive detail with photographs and separate entries for significant regional variations.

The Diccionario also covers rarer foods, such as xonequi from Veracruz and the even rarer chorizo de abulon de Ensenada (now not eaten due to overfishing).

This book is probably the most valuable reference to my cooking library since I bought Diana Kennedy's books. It is a clear, factual presentation of Mexican cuisine in an easily accessible format. Simply MARVELOUS.

I recently heard that the book has been released as a serial and can be purchased at your local newsstand in Mexico. I haven't seen it, but it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. In the preface, it indicates that an English translation is in the works.

Caarina

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I will echo - LOUDLY ECHO - Caarina's recommendation for this book. It is, hands down, they single best reference work on Mexican cooking in any language.

It is in Spanish only at this time. Ricardo would like to get it translated into English, but there is not funding for it at the moment. Even if your Spanish isn't fluent and your reading skills less than perfect, if you find this book buy it anyway. With a good Spanish/English dictionary and/or a Spanish speaking friend, you'll still be able to use it as a reference tool. Many of the entries are short enough that they aren't that intimidating to translate.

The Enciclopedia is only printed in limited run quantities and when each run is sold out it's sold out until the next time, which can be irregular. The print runs in Mexico are considerably smaller than here in the U.S.. I found my copy in the gift shop of the Santo Domingo cathedral in Oaxaca of all places.

For those of you that might not be familiar with Ricardo, he is one of a handful of(less than 10) certified Master Chef's in Mexico. In 2003 (or maybe it was 2002) Time Magazine named him one of the 25 most influential people in Mexico. Ricardo is a graduate of the CIA at Hyde Park and has studied in France and Italy as well. He is currently very involved with the movement to have UNESCO declare Mexican food/culture/history/etc. a patrimony. I think they recently lost the first round, but the group working toward this is quite dedicated and will persist. Ricardo hails from Vera Cruz but currently lives in D.F. where he owns and operates Cafe Azul y Oro on the UNAM campus. (Yes, I've mentioned this place as has Esperanza). In addition, he has been president this year of the Mexican version of the National Restaurant Association. In Mexico, he's pretty high profile, in the U.S. he's pretty much below the radar. He truly is a walking encyclopedia of information about Mexican food, Mexican culture and Mexico in general.

Caarina -- I will be in Morelia and Patzcuaro the first week of March, I'll check as many newsstands as I can to see if they've got the Enciclopedia serialized. I'm addicted to the cooking magazines sold on newsstands throughout Mexico. So, while I'm checking those out I might as well look for the serial. If you'd like copies of the serialized version PM me and let me know. If I find them I'll bring some back.

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I'll be in Mexico City and Puebla in March as well and will keep an eye out for this book.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I'll be in Mexico City and Puebla in March as well and will keep an eye out for this book.

It's a thick, red, coffee table sized book. And it contributed to my getting hit with an overweight luggage fee leaving Oaxaca :rolleyes:

There is a bookstore underneath Ricardo's cafe on the UNAM campus and they sometimes have copies of the Enciclopedia. They almost always have copies of his other 2 cookbooks.

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I'll be in Mexico City and Puebla in March as well and will keep an eye out for this book.

It's a thick, red, coffee table sized book. And it contributed to my getting hit with an overweight luggage fee leaving Oaxaca :rolleyes:

There is a bookstore underneath Ricardo's cafe on the UNAM campus and they sometimes have copies of the Enciclopedia. They almost always have copies of his other 2 cookbooks.

Thanks for the information and the warning! :laugh:


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I hope they do serialize it to make the book accessible to the Mexican public. Since the book is 300 MXP, it seriously expensive for the average person on the street. This book is so important that it deserves to have a wider audience in Mexico. It would be a shame that the only people that could afford it are the richest of Mexicans and curious foreigners.

Caarina

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I second everyone's comments. Grab it when you can. The serialization, incidentally, was done prior to the book. This is common practice in Mexico. You often run across odd copies of the serials in book fairs. But together they add up to something that is at least as, if not more expensive than the book.

As to the English edition there are two, or maybe three problems. First paying someone to translate such a large work. It would have to be someone knowledgeable. Second, American publishers's belief that it would not sell. Perhaps it wouldn't but I can't help feeling that a lot of people might be interested. Third, perhaps, the quality of the reproduction of the color photos gives some publishers pause. They look fine to me but to those in the know, there are some problems here.

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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does anyone have any good online sources for this? amazon says not in stock. there is one source on deal-time, but it gets a really poor rating. i'd dearly love a copy.

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The basis for this book reminds me of the work of José N. Iturriaga de la Fuente, who received an Award in the Defense of Biodiversity from Slow Food in 2003. You can read about him and his work here.

The team led by Iturriaga produced a remarkable 54 books on many aspects of indigenous and imported foods. It stands as a milestone--a vital contribution to the understanding of Mexico's gastronomic heritage.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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does anyone have any good online sources for this? amazon says not in stock. there is one source on deal-time, but it gets a really poor rating. i'd dearly love a copy.

Russ

I frequent bookstores no matter where I am or what the language :biggrin:. If I find the book in either Morelia or Patzcuaro I'll pick it up for you. I'm in San Diego so getting it to you shouldn't be terribly difficult. I'm not holding my breath, but these books have a tendency to turn up in unusual places.

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that would be great. i'm happy to pay whatever shipping, etc. is necessary!

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The difference between the Diccionario and Iturriaga's work with CONACULTA/Direccion de Culturas Populares is that that the dicccionario is simply a reference guide. No recipes included.

Iturriaga's work is also very important. The amount of works published in such a short time is amazing. I own several of the volumes that were published in the Cocina Indigena series. (I count 33 volumes of varying lengths) These works specificially zero in on certain ethnic groups within Mexico and their unique recipes and food traditions. ie Recetario pame de San Luis Potosi, Recetario huichol, Recitario indigena de Sonora etc. I also own one of the Historical recetarios. Most of these works are available for sale at Mexican Cultural Institutions, but not all volumes are available anymore (once they are out of print... good luck!)

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When Iturriaga was head of Conaculta (the mexican cutural agency), he took the very sensible decision to just publish without insisting on a uniform format. The Cocina Indigena y Popular series (Popular means roughly lower class) varies in quality but who cares? It's a terrific value with no volume costing more than US10 and most about $3. You can usually get the complete set of 54 volumes in the bookshop of the Museo de Cultures Populares just off the main square in Coyoacan in the south of Mexico City. It has been reprinted and there are lots more volumes waiting to go.

Conaculta has two other series, one on the middle class cooking of the provinces (about 20 volumes), reprints of a series collected about twenty years ago. The other, my favorite, is a series of reprints (about a dozen) of manuscript and printed cookbooks of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. An incredible cuisine, quite distinct from Mexican cuisine today. Just wonderful recipes.

I cannot think of any nation that has so thoroughly investigated its culinary history as Mexico. It's an ongoing enterprise.

Rachel


Rachel Caroline Laudan

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thanks to all who volunteered, but since rachel lives in mexico city and it is most convenient for her, i'm going to accept her offer. i hope this isn't inappropriate; i'm posting this only to avoid cost and trouble for everyone else who offered. thanks again!

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I remember an online source for latin american books....Karno Booksellers in Valley Center, Ca.

I believe the URL is www.karnobooks.com. or someting close to that.

Another excellent book on all things gastronomic in Mexico was written by Sabastian Verdi.

I don't recall the title , my copy seems to have grown legs and wandered off--probably into the arms of my ex...grrrrr . At any rate, the book is as excellent work of the cuisines of Mexico as I have ever read.

The book covered everything in astounding detail right down to regional festivals and foods.

I did find another book by Verdi, El Nopal: principe de la campania azteca. A definative work on all things cactus from ensaladas to bebidas and entree. Even some poetry.


"We do not stop playing because we grow old,

we grow old because we stop playing"

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I'll be in Mexico City and Puebla in March as well and will keep an eye out for this book.

It's a thick, red, coffee table sized book. And it contributed to my getting hit with an overweight luggage fee leaving Oaxaca :rolleyes:

<sigh> I always get hit with an overweight luggage fee leaving Oaxaca ... and the DF ... Last time the culprit was the 10 kg of mole paste I bought in a little town outside Cuernavaca, or the frozen pitahayas, or the masa, or maybe the comales...

Seriously, many thanks for the recommendation of the book. I hope to be in the DF in March and will try to pick up a few copies.

Barb


Barb Cohan-Saavedra

Co-owner of Paloma Mexican Haute Cuisine, lawyer, jewelry designer, glass beadmaker, dessert-maker (I'm a lawyer who bakes, not a pastry chef), bookkeeper, payroll clerk and caffeine-addict

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does anyone have any good online sources for this? amazon says not in stock. there is one source on deal-time, but it gets a really poor rating. i'd dearly love a copy.

It is for sale at http://www.gandhi.com.mx/ (well, that is to say they list it, but when I checked it said "not available at the moment") I´m not sure if they will ship to the Usa however.

They tend to have a bunch of them at Ghandi, then none at all. If you really really want it and are coming to Mexico for only a short time, I would call from there and order it on the phone- assuming you speak Spanish - so that it is there when you arrive. There is a Ghandi accross from the Palacio de Bellas Artes and a huge one in Coyoacán on Miguel Angel de Quevedo, near the metro station of the same name.

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I just realized that Ricardo Munoz Zurita will be a staff member/instructor in the upcoming culinary trip to Mexico City, Tlaxcala and Puebla that my wife and I will be attending. Does anyone have any questions they would like me to ask him?


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I just realized that Ricardo Munoz Zurita will be a staff member/instructor in the upcoming culinary trip to Mexico City, Tlaxcala and Puebla that my wife and I will be attending. Does anyone have any questions they would like me to ask him?

Is this the CIA trip? If so, you'll have a wonderful time. I did their Oaxaca trip 3 or 4 years ago. Pricey, but I never regretted it. I'm doing a benefit/fund raiser with Ricardo next Friday. He's a real sweetheart.

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I just realized that Ricardo Munoz Zurita will be a staff member/instructor in the upcoming culinary trip to Mexico City, Tlaxcala and Puebla that my wife and I will be attending. Does anyone have any questions they would like me to ask him?

Is this the CIA trip? If so, you'll have a wonderful time. I did their Oaxaca trip 3 or 4 years ago. Pricey, but I never regretted it. I'm doing a benefit/fund raiser with Ricardo next Friday. He's a real sweetheart.

It is indeed. I went with them to Spain in2004 - great trip.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I just returned from a fabulous trip - much more to come. I asked Ricardo about his books. Unfortunately they are out of print and essentially unavailable. The good news, however, is that he is working on at least one book in English with Marilyn Tausend, who was one of the leaders of the trip along with Rick Bayless.

I agree - Ricardo is a great guy and he makes some mean Tamales and chiles rellenos!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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John, dying to hear (and see!) about the trip. When you say the books are out of print, do you include the Diccionario Enciclopedio?

edited to add: Here's the Amazon link; they say they're shipping in 3-6 weeks and not that it's unavailable.


Edited by chrisamirault (log)

Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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John, dying to hear (and see!) about the trip. When you say the books are out of print, do you include the Diccionario Enciclopedio?

edited to add: Here's the Amazon link; they say they're shipping in 3-6 weeks and not that it's unavailable.

I hope to have commentary and plenty of photos up some time this weekend. Thanks for the link, Chris. I don't know where Amazon is getting the book from, but he did tell me that they are not currently being printed.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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John, dying to hear (and see!) about the trip. When you say the books are out of print, do you include the Diccionario Enciclopedio?

edited to add: Here's the Amazon link; they say they're shipping in 3-6 weeks and not that it's unavailable.

It is available in Mexico, not out of print. But better get it fast! I will check next time I am at Ghandi how many they have....I would be willing to act as go-between if anyone is desperate to get it, ie. buy and send, but the only feasible way to send is DHL or Fedex which doubles the price (regular mail is unsure and almost as expensive).

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Has anyone seen any copies of this book for sale recently? I'd love to get a copy, but am not having much luck.


Edited by mukki (log)

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