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Mexican Modern
New Food from Mexico
Fiona Dunlop; photography by Jean-Blaise Hall

published 2009 • 8 ¼” x 10 ¼” • 192 pages • full-color photos
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An enthralling gastronomic journey that captures the incredible vitality and color of this country and the remarkable food of Mexico today

Mexico is experiencing a gastronomic revolution. A return to pre-Hispanic cooking techniques and ingredients combined with modern presentations are sweeping a wind of change through the country's legendary food.

From Mexico City to Veracruz, from Michoacán to Puebla and from Oaxaca to the Yucatán, Fiona Dunlop has sought out 12 chefs at the forefront of Mexican cooking to discover the recipes at the heart of this revolution. Backing them up are sections on market food cooks who still make old classics in time-honored ways. Among the recipes, you will find inventive new dishes as well as modern versions of classics. Chilies, seafood, chicken, duck, pork, game and corn tortillas play a central role as do vegetable dishes based on beans, tomatoes, avocados, squash, corn, sweet potatoes, pumpkin seeds and mole sauces.

Fiona Dunlop is the author of the critically acclaimed New Tapas in which she explored Spain's best tapas bar food and, more recently, The North African Kitchen, which featured the sumptuous home cooking of North Africa. For her latest book she travelled extensively throughout Mexico, a country that she has known for 15 years, tasting the food in restaurants and on the street, and talking to chefs and market people. She writes regularly for the London Observer, Financial Times, Sunday Telegraph and CNN Traveler and has written numerous travel guides, including titles for National Geographic.

Click here for a sample recipe.


Media Reviews

"British food writer Dunlop (The New Tapas) here focuses on the contemporary Mexican food scene, showcasing 12 talented chefs. She offers an intriguing look at an evolving cuisine, with a brief nod to tradition in shorter sections on Mexican street foods. Striking color photographs add to the appeal of the book. For most cooks."
—Library Journal

“An impressive and highly useful book that could only be improved if it came with a plane ticket to Mexico… Dunlop’s third cookbook makes for a Mexico that’s a world away from packet taco mixes and servings of micro-waved nachos. Divided into six of the central or southern states—the capital México DF, south-central Puebla, west coastal Michoacán, southern Oaxaca and Veracruz, and the far easterly Yucatán—it’s evident that Dunlop traveled extensively while researching this book. Dunlop presents two local chefs for each area, such as DF’s Martha Ortiz and Oaxacan housewife Abigail Mendoza, thereby offering firsthand insights into the traditions and realities of modern Mexican cuisine. Recipes? Plenty of those, ranging from street food through to first class restaurant fare. Caldo de mariscos (spicy seafood broth) made a soup every bit as good as we’d enjoyed recently in Mexico City, while the classier recipes such as fillets of fish with tomato marmalade are perfect for dinner party hosts to show off. Aptly for such a cookbook, it’s richly colored with gorgeous photography.”
—Time Out Magazine

“Tierra de Maz. Perhaps no regional cuisine is more dependent on one indigenous ingredient than Mexico is to corn. Chiles matter greatly, of course, as Mexico cultivates around 150 types, but corn permeates the country’s cuisine due to its extraordinary versatility. Masa harina (corn flour), elote (cooked or barbecued sweetcorn), huitlacoche (corn truffle, a mushroom like fungus), as well as the corn husk used envelope-like in tamales-each plays a vital role in North and South Americas pre-eminent, favorite, most historic food type. Whereas steamed rice anchors a permanent position on the Asian plate, corn is nimbly involved in scores of creative Mexican dishes.
"Mexican Modern: New Food from Mexico" (Interlink Books, 978-1-56656-744-2) carts us through the restaurants, markets, and street stalls of Mexico’s six major regions-Mexico City, Veracruz, Puebla, Michoacan, Oaxaca, and Yucatan. We meet twelve of the country’s top chefs and their restaurants, many of which are housed in wonders of colonial architecture. The worldly sophistication of the recipes will surprise anyone who hasn’t been keeping an eye on Mexico’s haute cuisine scene. Yes, we find ample reference to the classic dishes-mole, ceviche, quesadillas-yet they receive contemporary uplifts resulting in dishes of remarkable lightness and appeal.
The author of "New Tapas", and "The North African Kitchen", accomplished food and travel writer Fiona Dunlop, deserves high praise for recognizing the chef talent and core food sensibilities of Mexican cuisine. In the backmatter, she offers supplier lists, restaurant contact information, a pepper heat scale, and much-needed glossary to help us separate antojitos from epazote.”
—Foreword Magazine

"Mexican food did not stop with just tacos and burritos, and modern Mexican chefs are as innovative as those of any other nation. "Mexican Modern: New Food from Mexico" breaks from the standard Mexican tradition that so many American cooks associate and brings readers and cooks new dishes from south of the border. With fine spins on something as simple as marinated shrimp, to seafood broth, to desserts such as strawberries with cheese and honey, the Mexican diet can revolutionize one's own. Each entry has the dish's Spanish name, ingredient list, and step by step directions. "Mexican Modern" is a fine choice for those who want to expand their culinary horizons."
—Midwest Book Review

"In the vibrant and elegantly written "Mexican Modern", Fiona Dunlop brings us today's Mexican cuisine, one that is alive with both the old and the new…"Mexican Modern" is an exciting blend, of recipes, just as the cuisine itself is an exciting blend of ingredients."
—www.inmamaskitchen.com

“Did you know Mexico is experiencing a gastronomic revolution? What’s surprising is that this revolution isn’t about fusion; rather, chefs are digging deep into their culinary history, resurrecting products and the flavors native to the land before Spanish influence. "Mexican Modern" takes us on a journey through top kitchens and back streets, detailing how chefs and cooks are moving Mexican cuisine forward by sticking to their roots.
Each chapter focuses on a different region in Mexico, from Michoacán to Oaxaca to Veracruz. Author Fiona Dunlop profiles some of the hottest chefs of Mexico, who share insights into their inspirations and creative processes, as well as the bulk of the recipes in the book. The usual suspects of Mexican food are included, such as avocado, corn and a wide spectrum of fresh, dried and smoked chilies. The chefs also incorporate more obscure ingredients, such as zucchini blossoms, hibiscus and yucca stems, showcasing often overlooked Mexican delicacies. While beef and chicken are still major players, proteins used in Aztec cooking, such as duck, venison and turkey are gaining popularity.
 Dunlop doesn’t neglect the corner vendor, who is just as responsible for the richness and innovation in modern Mexican cuisine as the acclaimed chef. She devotes a section of each chapter to street food, adding recipes that are fresh, tasty and refined in their own right. Try a zest-filled, fruity gaspacho made with mango, pineapple and jicama at Morelia’s arcades, or head to a stand in Mexico City for esquites, a creamy snack of sautéed corn seasoned with epazote and garnished with a dollop of crema.
The stunning photography alone makes this book worth a peek. Photographer Jean-Blaise Hall depicts Mexican produce, spices, meats and local culture, along with vibrant, mouthwatering pictures of the dishes. Hall captures the beauty of a simple stack of cactus leaves in an open-air market or tamales cooking in ancient pots on a rickety stove. At the end of the journey, you’ll almost be able to smell the sea off the Yucatán peninsula, taste the tangy ceviche and live la revolución for yourself.                        
—Chile Pepper

"Fiona Dunlop's "Mexican Modern: New Food from Mexico" visits six regions of Mexico and introduces its cooks' latest riffs on Mexican dishes... Dunlop has also included sections of street and market recipes from every region. You'll want to go there yourself when you see the luscious photographs by Jean-Blaise Hall. But if that's not possible, the recipes will certainly give you the flavor of modern Mexico."
—Clair Hopley, Amherst Bulletin

 

 



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