Book Review: Tacos: Recipes and Provocations, by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman

TacosIn the famous words of George Tekei, “Oh, my!” Tacos: Recipes and Provocations is not your mother’s cookbook. This racy, mouthwatering, intriguing collaborative journey through food and culture by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothamn is what I want all my future food books to imitate. Yes, simple recipe books have their place on my shelves, but none of them make me want to prepare and eat the fruit of their bullet points as does this delectable literature and makes-me-want-to-eat-the-page photography. More, please?

For those hoping for a book of Mexican dishes, we are reminded that “[Tacos] is not a sweeping study of Mexican culinary traditions. It is only about tacos—a reference point most of us share, a familiar food that we can use to explore unfamiliar flavors and challenging ideas” (15). Of course, there are things one needs to know in the making of a taco, which is why there are sections on ingredients, sauces, and the all-important tortilla. High end pastry chef turned taco aficionado Alex Stupak explains, “I’ve had three defining moments as a cook: the first time I got to touch a black truffle; the first time I made a stable foam; and the first time I tasted a freshly made tortilla at La Parrilla” (10). This reminds me of my time living in Belize and eating freshly made, white corn tortillas with caldo (soup). Until you’ve had one of these perfect tortillas, you’ll simply never understand. This is not Taco Bell. This is good.

If you want to dive head first into tacos, or if you want to want to like tacos, this book will do it for you. Seriously, I think I’m making tortillas tonight.


*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


Book Review: The God I Don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith, by Christopher J. H. Wright

The God I Don't UnderstandWhile working through the unread books in my library, I realized I still had one more by Christopher J. H. Wright that I had forgotten about: The God I Don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith. Wright here works through four of the big questions people often have when struggling with God and the Bible: evil & suffering, destruction of the Canaanites, the cross, and thoughts on the end of the world. He addresses each of these issues through faith, scholarship, and trust, honestly and humbly admitting his own struggles along the way. The book is easy to read and understand, despite the subject difficulty. (This isn’t necessarily intended for those looking for the kind of thorough academic arguments as found in other works of Wright, but still both a useful and helpful starting point.)

If I ever get the chance to meet Chris, I’m going to thank him and give him a giant, awkwardly lasting man hug. His The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (review) is still my top recommendation (a bit too academic for some, but I encourage taking the journey anyway), with The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission (review) in an easy second (more of an expansion on a particular aspect of the former, and much easier to read). The God I Don’t Understand is a helpful addition!