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Williams-Sonoma Mexican    by Marilyn Tausend, Chuck Williams & Maren Caruso order for
Williams-Sonoma Mexican
by Marilyn Tausend
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Williams-Sonoma Mexican is a lovely cookbook, with gorgeous color photographs of each of the forty tempting recipes included. From the novice to the experienced chef, readers will find dishes to make them set a direct course for the kitchen.

Mexican foods have been making great inroads into the American diet. It's easy to see why. 'Mexico has one of the world's most diverse culinary histories. It's earliest inhabitants were sustained for thousands of years by corn and beans, enlivened with ingredients such as squashes, tomatoes, chilies, and chocolate all native to the New World.' Then the Spanish arrived, contributing rice, wheat and citrus fruits, as well as spices from the Far East, to what has become a great culinary heritage.

The first recipe I want to try is Ceviche a method of using citrus juice to cook the fish. It looks wonderful and would be great on a hot summer day. Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Roja is another on my must-try list. I love Red Snapper. My brother, who was a merchant seaman, told me that when seamen signed on a ship, they would board only if they were promised red snapper at least twice a week. Don't know if he ever had Veracruz-Style Red Snapper, but it sure looks good.

If you like soup (and who doesn't?) try the Tortilla Soup. Just looking at it is a treat. Or how about Black Bean Soup with its dark rich brown color, swirls of sour cream, and bits of green spring onions gracing the top? Somebody, hand me a spoon. Duck in a Green Pipian has a certain appeal as do Pork Chops Marinated in Adobo Sauce. Beef eaters will love the Carne Asada. Looks wonderful and the recipe reads well too.

Then we come to desserts. Why, oh why, do cookbooks almost always include a recipe for Bread Pudding? Don't they know I have no resistance? I've been told the bread pudding served at the buffet at Harrah's in Las Vegas is the best ever. But I bet this cookbook's Brandy-Infused Bread Pudding beats it. And I'm putting in a request for someone in my family to make me a Rum-Raisin Cheesecake for my birthday cake. Nirvana.

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