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.

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