Maricel Presilla's Gran Cocina Latina - The Insider's Culinary Guide To Latin America

Gran Cocina Latina is the latest book from James Beard Award-winning chef, restaurateur and food historian Maricel E. Presilla.

The culmination of close to 30 years of research, Gran Cocina Latina is in every way Presilla's magnum opus. Its more than 500 carefully selected recipes represent techniques and approaches from individual regions as well as drawing attention to recurrent themes linking many corners of the Latin American map. They cover dishes ranging from empanadas and tamales to salads, breads, and desserts, addressing both the novice home cook and the seasoned chef.

Gran Cocina Latina takes home cooks, armchair travellers, and curious food professionals on an epic voyage. Presilla has travelled to every country of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Americas. She has feasted on gutsy Brazilian home meals with her favorite taxi driver in Salvador da Bahia, cooked in the southern Ecuadorian Andes with matriarchs who rule their kitchens with their soup spoons (cucharamamas), and eaten innovative cebiches by leading chefs on Peru's vibrant restaurant scene.

Presilla sorts through the dizzying varieties of local foods and dishes to detect their essence, the core of flavours and techniques that unite the Latin lands. She introduces a philosophy of cooking and eating that started with flavour bases going all the way back to medieval Spain. She shows how these became fused with a panoply of Old and New World ingredients - Spanish elements such as onions, garlic, and coriander marrying in the cooking pot with pre-Columbian treasures including peppers, corn, potatoes, and peanuts as well as African plantains and true yams - to create the monumental and evolving food culture that is the gran cocina latina.

You will enter the world of Latin table condiments, colorful infused oils, "big soups," and unique hot pepper pots. You will learn the basics of dealing with yuca, coconuts, and lime-treated Andean corn (mote). You will discover new flavours like golden mirasol dried peppers, the luscious mamey fruit, the subtle Andean root vegetable called arracacha, and the many wonderful varieties of artisanal Latin brown loaf sugar. You can sample street food like Salvadorian hot corn on the cob with a whole arsenal of popular condiments, or prepare elegant boned roast chicken from one of Argentina's premier winemakers. You can explore a surprising spectrum of Latin drinks from hot chocolate, home-brewed pineapple-skin chicha, and Paraguayan mate to pisco sours, tropical fruit caipirinhas, and Peruvian purple corn fruit punch.

A landmark addition to any cookbook shelf, Gran Cocina Latina is a one-of-a-kind work to be read for spirited prose and original insight as much as for its rich array of recipes.


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