Book Review: The Chili Cookbook, by Robb Walsh, photos by Eva Kolenko

The Chili CookbookChili, chilli, chile… What is it, from where did it come, and how do I make it? What do Mexicans, Spaniards, Greeks, Hungarians, Austrians, Americans, and others the world over have in common? Robb Walsh answers these questions and more in The Chili Cookbook. Just in time to begin experimenting with different recipes for the chili cook-off among my wife’s colleagues, I found this book to be enlightening and inspiring. But it’s the cultural connections made therein that really intrigued me. It shouldn’t be that surprising to find similar dishes on opposite ends of the world when using some of the same ingredients, but it’s still pretty cool when you think about some of them (is goulash chili?!). And the ways immigrants have shaped food culture in the United States… It never ceases to amaze me how many Americans fail to appreciate how non-American “American food” really is! (Who knew that “Texas hot dogs, Texas hots, or Texas Wieners” were created by a Greek dude in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and aren’t Texan at all?!)

Along with what are typically considered both traditional and modern chili recipes, Walsh includes many recipes from around the world that may or may not be chili in the eyes of the reader, but deserve inclusion nonetheless. There are also a number of necessities for the chili aficionado: tortillas, roasting tips, spice mixes, sauces, et al. The only downside I’ve found with this book is it leaving me wanting more of the beautiful photography it already contains by Eva Kolenko (there are photographs of only select recipes). Granted, many of these are going to look the same (but with great difference in texture and flavor!), it’d still be nice to see the final product of each.

This is a beautiful cookbook that I’m glad to have in my growing collection.

 

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

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