Cookbook celebrates the vast, important cuisine of Latin America.

Collecting specific dishes of the whole nation is a difficult task for anyone. Then imagine doing it for 22 countries and you will have an idea of ​​what was done to create “The Latin American Cookbook”.

Just one dish – say garlic crab or grilled street corn – can vary from assembly to neighborhood, region to region, and nation to nation.

“How to catch it in a dish and say, ‘This is the recipe,’ is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” says McLean Star-winning chef Virgilio Martنیnez. Central Lima, Peru

The 432-page cover of “The Latin American Cookbook” by author and Maclean Star-winning chef Virgilio Martinez.

(Phaidon via AP)

What Martínez and his colleagues have created is a beautiful and thoroughly researched book containing 600 famous recipes that illustrate the spirit of Latin American cuisine.

Chile’s Salsa Verde has a stunning range of dishes, from sea urchins to Belize and Mexican black turkey stew to Venezuelan pasta casseroles and Ecuadorian potato pancakes. There are many sesame sauce recipes, including classic Pisco Pork, a Dalche de Leche Thousand Layer Cake and, surprisingly, Chilean disco fries.

The book is divided, not by nation, but by ingredients, including vegetables, corn, pork, sheep and goat, roots and bark, and fish and seafood. It celebrates the region’s distinctive ingredients, such as the edible flower Loroko, the blue fungus Hetlacoche, and the ripe banana, called gynecomastia.

Nicholas Gill, co-author of Martinez and Volume, a food and travel writer, consulted with house chefs, farmers, food journalists, village elders, bakers, and restaurant owners throughout Latin America. Martínez took what he learned in his Mater Iniciativa – an interdisciplinary gastronomic and cultural research organization dedicated to the protection and sharing of Peruvian biodiversity – and applied it throughout Latin America.

“It was a very difficult process,” says Gul. “The landscape stretches from the Rio Grande to the tip of Patagonia. It’s a huge chunk of land.”

But that often means the delicious work of the farm, from sampling hot bowls of beef soup in Bogot to lowering fish and unit berry dishes along the Amazon River. Fayden Press’s “The Latin American Cookbook” is full of interesting recipes that extend the food vocabulary beyond the continent’s more popular offerings such as Ampenadas, Aripas, Timals and Caperinhas.

Authors celebrate the diversity of ingredients and what makes a dish different from a sister’s recipe, often highlighting its unique and behind-the-scenes stories. Although most Latin American countries adopt common ingredients such as corn and beans, it is difficult to simplify expansion.

“I’m from Peru, and I’m very different from a Brazilian. I mean, we have things in common. I have more in common with a Mexican than a German, right?” Martínez said. Try to promote Latin American identity because there are so many. “

Martinez says Latin Americans have a tendency to improve the kitchen, which probably reflects many regions that are going through difficult economic times, with some ingredients not available and some very expensive. “Improving them, making what you can with what you have, is part of Latin American culture,” he says.

The authors know that home cooks can replace some of the more difficult-to-find ingredients with more common items, and they encourage this. All they wanted to do was codify the most authentic version of the dish.

“We tried to explain the ingredients as much as possible. We tried not to make a fool of them,” says Gul. Granted, we tried to name this particular tuber, though no one else in the world might find it. “

In addition to its restaurant, Martنیnez is dedicated to experimenting with gifts of nature to document Peru’s numerous products and discover pure uses. In many ways, the new cookbook is also a way to preserve the past.

“We need to help our farmers and those who are producing food. And we need to develop some ingredients that will probably be forgotten in a few years,” he says.

Gill hopes the book can be a guide for people – after epidemics, of course – to encourage them to visit the continent and try new dishes. “We wanted to encourage travel, and people go to these places and understand them,” he says.

Kennedy writes for the Associated Press.

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