Our Latin Table
There are many reasons to buy cookbooks, some of us want inspiration, some just like to collect and browse, the professionals of us buy them to see what is happening out there and to steal some new ideas (inspiration as well) and the home cooks - at times want somebody to do the thinking for them.
Our Latin Table is a book that at first sight I didn't rate very highly, but when I showed it to my wife and saw her reaction, I took a second look at it, since she thought it was quite nice and useful. (Who am I to disagree with my wife?)
Opinions differ of course, but like I said there are many reasons to buy cookbooks and my approach when looking at them is that of a professional chef and not that of a home cook.
The exact reasons why I didn't think much of it was exactly what my wife liked about it. (Women are from Mars and Men are from Venus…)
The book is split not by categories but has a variety of menus for special occasions or just regular days in ones life with corresponding recipes that are easy to follow and well explained. It is sort of a personal scrap and recipe book that incorporates tidbit stories about the Saralegui family and their heritage, especially in regards to where the food that is featured in this book originates from. I liked in particular the little stories that are tagged to quite a few recipes, explaining either the origin of the recipe or just points out little side notes not captured in the recipe.
I like the first part of the book that starts with the Latin Pantry, a very well done explanation of ingredients or names that you might encounter in the book that are not all too familiar to people in Europe or the northern United States or other parts of the world that are not in Latin America.
The photography is somewhere between average and good, but the artistic and design part of the book certainly didn't seem to be a major focus of this books intend.
It is more the capturing and recording of family traditions which the author thought to be worth sharing with people, and did so very well.
The recipes are easy to follow, certainly you don't need to be a Michelin Star chef to make them and the food is uncomplicated, fun and tasty. This is exactly what you want when entertaining at home for friends.
Our Latin Table is a fun book to buy for friends that like entertaining at home and want to have ready made menus with recipes that work and have been tried and tested.