Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mexican Cookbook devoted to American Homes

Mexican Cookbook devoted to American Homes
By: Josefina Velázquez de León
First Edition: 1947
Editions: 8 (Last, 1971)
Paperback, Bilingual (English-Spanish)
363 Pages

Josefina published her first book, Manual Práctico de Cocina (A Practical Cooking Manual), in 1936. The book was a big success and helped launching Josefina’s own imprint, Ediciones Josefina Velázquez de León that published more than 140 cookbooks, all of them written by Josefina.

This entry is dedicated to Mexican Cooking Book Devoted to the American Home, Josefina’s celebrated bilingual volume. First published in 1947, the book underwent, to the best of our knowledge, eight editions, the last in 1971. The 1947 edition credits Concepción Silva Garcia as the translator, and Josefina’s sister Guadalupe was responsible for the drawings, including, it seems, the delightful cover that shows a pretty Mexican brunette offering food from a traditional cazuela surrounded by flags: colonial buildings rising over the Mexican flag, while skyscrapers elevate over the American pennant.

“It is a great honour to dedicate the present book”, Josefina writes in its introduction (original spelling has been respected) “to the Distinguished Feminine Society of this Continent and specially the North American Women, in their own language, that has demostrated interest and pleasure in learning the “Authentic Mexican Cookery” by the continuons petitions of my Academy pupils, from the United States.”

The 1947 edition of “Mexican Cookbook devoted to American Homes,” is divided in four sections. The first is a lengthy explanation of Mexican food including an installment called “How to Cook the Mexican Way in the United States.” The two following sections portray an array of recipes (for a recipe from this book click here) from well-known Mexican dishes like tamales and moles that remain unchanged to this days, to some forgotten delicacies like Caguama (sea turtle) Soup, a “favorite dish among Baja Californians”. The last section of the book offers a look at Josefina’s ambitious project to research recipes from all the different Mexican regions, a work that she had published a year before in Platillos regionales de la República Mexicana (Regional Dishes of the Mexican Republic).

Check back for a recipe from this book in the next post.

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