For the past 2 weeks, I've been sharing recipes as part of the Muy Bueno Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef. And now that I've had a chance to sample so many different tasty recipes, I'm finally ready to offer a more detailed review of this wonderful cookbook.
As part of today's review, I'm was planning to share at least one final recipe (Sopaipillas) from the cookbook, but yesterday's rain clouds refused to cooperate and I gave up photographing after 5 or 6 dimly lit shots of flour and shortening. And since I didn't want to postpone my giveaway of a copy of the Muy Bueno Cookbook, I'm sharing my review today without the Sopaipillas.
So what makes a good cookbook, anyway? The answer really varies based on the person answering the question. Busy working moms with hungry kids may be searching for cookbooks packed with quick-fix meals. Single adults with tiny apartment kitchens and a 60-hour week jobs may be interested in books packed with easy appetizers and fancy cocktails. And some people, like me, may prefer cookbooks filled with kitchen tips, cooking techniques, from-scratch recipes and plenty of stories.
The new Muy Bueno Cookbook is a wonderful mix of stories, techniques, from-scratch recipes, fancy cocktails and a plethora of comforting dishes spanning 3 generations of women and their passion for food. The cookbook is infused with 3 different flairs of Latin and Mexican cuisine, all presented through gorgeous photos of treasured family recipes.
For someone - someone like me - who doesn't know much about Mexican cuisine or the origins of the food, Muy Bueno is a treasure-trove of heritage. Many of the recipes in the cookbook are accompanied by short anecdotes or stories revealing the rich family history behind each dish. In fact, I loved paging through the cookbook with the sole purpose of stopping to read each memory associated with each delicious dish.
I was also relieved to find that the Muy Bueno cookbook doesn't rely heavily on prepackaged shortcuts. Most of the recipes start with from-scratch ingredients with simple and easy-to-follow instructions. And most recipes fit on a single page with an accompanying full-page photo - so you always know what to expect from each dish. In my opinion, photos are worth a thousand words when you're cooking, so the more the better.
Before I read the Muy Bueno cookbook, I knew very little about different types of chiles and quite frankly, they intimidated me. But the Muy Bueno cookbook changed all that with its handy chile index, graphically depicting each commonly used chile and providing history and uses for each. This chile index replaced my secret fears with knowledge and newfound confidence - I love the cookbook just for this index!
To be fair, if pressed or plied, I would offer 2 suggestions for improving the cookbook:
- Lie-flat design: This is really nit-picky because many cookbooks do not lie flat when open due to their binding and that is case with the Muy Bueno cookbook. However, when my hands are covered in flour or chile seeds, it would be so nice of the Muy Bueno cookbook lay flat on the counter, open to the recipe page I'm working with.
- More stories: I'm a sucker for stories and although there are plenty included in the Muy Bueno cookbook, I craved even more. And that's not really a flaw of the cookbook, but rather a testament to the fascinating and heart-warming stories already included in the book.
As most of you have noticed, I rarely make food from cookbooks because I have trouble sticking to recipes as written on the page. But I'm hooked on the Muy Bueno Cookbook. Even after 2 weeks of recipe sampling, I'm still leafing through the book, drooling over the photos, and making plans to try new dishes. And so I highly recommend picking up your own copy. You can now order the book online from Amazon or other retailers for a very reasonable price of just over $12.
This giveaway has ended.
Thanks so much to everyone who entered the giveaway and congratulations to Erin O'Malley! You have won a brand new copy of the Muy Bueno Cookbook! In order to claim your prize, please email me your name and U.S. mailing address - your information will then be forwarded to Hippocrene who will mail you the cookbook. (I will also respond to your comment to prompt a response from you, but it is your responsibility to check this post to determine the winner.) If you do not provide your address by Monday, October 8, 2012, I will randomly select a new winner.
I used Random.org to select the winner. There were 9 entrants. The first entrant was Tawanna (entrant number 1) and the last entrant was Louis (entrant number 9). You can see the result from Random.org below:
Or you can enter one of the giveaways hosted by bloggers participating in the Muy Bueno Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off sponsored by Hippocrene and hosted at girlichef. Thanks to Hippocrene's generosity, today I'm giving away one (1) copy of the Muy Bueno Cookbook and here's how you enter for a chance to win:
- To be eligible, you must have a mailing address within the continental United States
- Visit girlichef's Muy Bueno Spotlight page and check out the recipes other bloggers have shared as part of the Muy Bueno Cook-off.
- Return to this page on my blog and leave me a comment (by Friday 10/5/2012, 11:59 PM EST) describing the recipe(s) you're most interested in trying from the new Muy Bueno Cookbook
Only one entry per person and multiple comments from the same user will be counted as just one comment. Giveaway ends Friday, 10/5/2012 at 11:59 PM EST. I will select a winner at random from the qualifying comments and will announce the winner, here in this post, on Saturday 10/6/2012. Please check this post on 10/6/2012 for details about the winner. If I am unable to make contact with the winner and obtain the winner's mailing address, a new winner may be selected. The cookbook giveaway will be fulfilled directly by Hippocrene. Good luck everyone!