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"I know of no other book in print today, or in the past for that matter, that explains so meticulously the ingredients and history of the foods of Yucatan." -- Diana Kennedy

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • How to Use This Book
  • Introduction: !Explora Yucatan!
  • Part One: The Yucatecan Market
  • Overview
  • Index to Ingredients
  • Part Two: The Maya Heartland
  • A Natural Continuum
  • The Monte
  • The Milpa
  • The Solar
  • Part Three: Fertile Shores
  • Celestun
  • Sisal
  • Progreso
  • San Crisanto
  • San Felipe
  • Tulum
  • Punta Allen
  • Part Four: The People's Food
  • La Panaderia
  • La Chicharroneria
  • Comida Callejera
  • La Cocina Economica
  • La Cantina and el Restaurante Familiar
  • Part Five: The Urban Matrix
  • Empire Building
  • Campeche
  • Merida
  • Valladolid
  • Part Six: The Pueblos
  • Felipe Carrillo Puerto: Nectar of the Gods
  • Hunucma: Buried Foods
  • Kanasin: Nexus of Yucatecan Tacos
  • Lerma: A Feast for Kings
  • Mani: Inquisition to Transformation
  • Motul: Garnishing History
  • Oxcutzcab: Land of Oranges and Chocolate
  • Pomuch: Villa of Bakeries
  • Temozon: The Ethereal Essence of Smoke
  • Tetiz: The Sweetest of Pueblos
  • Tizimin: Cowboy Country
  • Pantry Staples
  • Recados / Xa'ak' / Seasoning Blends
  • Frijoles / Bu'ul / Beans
  • Salsas / Sauces
  • Other Staples
  • Basic Techniques
  • About Maize and Masa
  • Arroz / Rice
  • Basic Preparation Techniques
  • Working with Chiles
  • Preparing Meats for Cooking
  • The Ethereal Essence of Smoke
  • Resources
  • Bibliography
  • Photo and Drawing Credits
  • Index to Recipes
  • General Index

About the Author

David Sterling (1951-2016) was the author of Yucatan: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition, winner of the James Beard Foundation's Cookbook of the Year Award and International Cookbook Award in 2015. He founded Los Dos Cooking School, the first culinary institute in Mexico devoted exclusively to Yucatecan cooking, in 2003.


"The book runs through all the sub-regions of the Yucatan, almost a food-driven road trip in text. And beyond Sterling's encyclopedic and meticulously-researched knowledge of Yucatcan food, his love for and connection to the region and its fare are evident on every page; it is rare to find such humble passion and vigor in a volume that is so comprehensive and informational. The photographs capture scenes from the streets, food stalls, and home kitchens, as well as landscapes from the region. Nothing feels staged; the images of the recipes are mouth-watering, yet homey, imperfect, and entirely in tune with the rest of the book. The recipes, too, are surprisingly accessible." - Saveur "This is not just a cookbook; it's also a labor of love that well documents places, people, and, yes, food on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula [...]The more than 275 recipes are gathered in groupings based on the heartland, the coast, the cities, and the villages, populated, too, with excellent photographs of many Yucatan natives (meet 73-year-old Hernan Perrera Novelo, who still farms his plot). Ingredients are featured with a description and their culinary uses, including both familiar and indigenous, such as avocado, cashew apples, oscillated turkey, and lobster, to mention a handful. It will be difficult not to turn on all the burners and oven to try pilikanes, turkey in maize, fish-head soup, pan dulce, or crispy fried pork skin." - Booklist "The Yucatan Peninsula encompasses 132 miles for every page of this epic endeavor, surely the largest and most comprehensive exploration of Yucatan cook-ing to be found north of the Gulf of Mexico [...]mong the more than 275 recipes, are savory options like pork belly confit and mincemeat-filled maize dumplings, and sweets that make ample use of Mayan chocolate, such as the chocolate frozen custard with achiote, vanilla, allspice, and chile. A chapter on basic techniques, such as making tortillas and cooking tamales, rounds out the work, while an excellent categorical index of the recipes makes it easy to search out entrees based on ingredients rather than region." - Publishers Weekly "Sterling has compiled the archaeological history of the Mexican peninsula with more than 275 authentic recipes. It might look like a coffee table tome, but don't be fooled - the recipes are easy to follow and fit just about any lifestyle from hardcore gourmand to busy eater." - SA Current "[Yucatan] has more than 275 recipes and truly captures the cuisine of the region. But more than that, Sterling does a great job as a culinary travel guide, offering the inside scoop on the people, places, and ingredients of one of the world's great regional cuisines... I totally agree with Diana Kennedy's assessment of Sterling's work: "I know of no other book in print today, or in the past for that matter, that explains so meticulously the ingredients and history of the foods of Yucatan." - Burn Blog "[Diane] Kennedy's seal of approval says plenty about the integrity of Sterling's approach to Yucatecan cuisine... he delves deep into the history of the peninsula, filled with recipes from as far back as the pre-Columbian period, as well as dishes that are made and eaten today. (There is plenty of overlap, as I learned.) The abundant photographs and short essays on nearly every page, giving the book vibrancy and clear sense of place... Sterling's adaptations of this food are all deeply, deeply satisfying." - Serious Eats "A stunning new addition ... Yucatan: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition by David Sterling offers not only tons of incredible recipes and gorgeous photography, but a wonderful introduction to the Yucatecan people, culture, history, and environment as well. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to explore this beautiful book, and can say with no hesitation that it holds a feast of delights in store for both newcomers to and seasoned gourmands familiar with Yucatecan cuisine." - BookPeople blog

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