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The idea behind this book is great and I think it's a wonderful introduction to how varied Mexican food can be. Most Americans are exposed only to Tex-Mex restaurants and very rarely get to experience anything more than the occasional corn flour taco, and that's only if you specifically request it! However, this book has a lot of flaws in how the recipes were written. I really feels like they didn't test out the recipes before printing them. Some of them work just fine and are delicious. Others have fatal flaws in them,:ingredients that are listed that are never used and others that leave out critical ingredients or instructions that leave the cook floundering for how to fix it. I'm no novice cook and there were recipes in here that I could not salvage.
For instance, the tamale recipe. The book calls for 3 POUNDS of masa flour and the ingredient list does not specify how much liquid to add. In the instructions, there is vague reference to adding liquid that we estimated to be about 1.5 cups. The dough never came together and it did not behave like any tamale dough that we'd made before. We eventually just tossed it into the compost and started over with the recipe on the back of the masa flour bag. That recipe called for 3 CUPS of masa and 2.25 cups of liquid and the tamales we made with it turned out great. How on earth is the average home cook supposed to intuit how much liquid to add to recipe if its not directly specified?
So, buy this book with caution if you aren't already super familiar with cooking Mexican food. I'd really recommend that you use it as an inspiration for what to cook, rather than a recipe book. I will be looking through it for ideas and then looking up similar recipes online for more carefully written instructions.
I ordered and cancelled (after reading the 1 star review about dairy and eggs) then put it in and out of my cart half a dozen times because of my vegan conflict. Then I ordered it again last week. I've had it for three days and have made three recipes: Urban Farmer Calabacitas, Black Velvet Beans, and Hibiscus Tacos. They were all outstanding. The second two seemed risky (beans with an anise-like flavor?)(tacos made with jamaica??).....but my entire family devoured them.
It is true that this is not a purely vegan cookbook. But there isn't anything an experienced vegan cook can't easily sub out. And, there is no cookbook of which I'm aware that makes the important socio-political cultural case so expertly made by these authors.
This is a revolutionary and beautiful book in every sense of those words. A must have addition to any ethical vegan's library.
Amazon Buying Experience: 1 Star. Book Itelf: 4 Stars
If you buy from Amazon check your copy carefully. I recommend buying in store somewhere. I received 3 copies in a row with a printing error. There was a large chunk of missing pages (p. 49 - 72) and instead there were duplicate pages (p. 73 - 96) from another chapter in their place. I wrote the author and they acknowledging some books in the second edition had a printing error. I wrote Amazon clearly explaining the problem, I was told they would check the book before sending it to me and still 3 times received misprinted copies. The last time they said they couldn't promise they wouldn't just send me another faulty printed book so they refunded instead of trying to send another replacement. I am surprised and disappointed to see they didn't pause sale of their inventory while they check for more faulty ones. I am now trying to track down a local copy I can check myself before buying
The book itself has a lot of great recipes. I would prefer more photos of the prepared food. Some of the recipes have long ingredient lists and are lengthy to prepare, but that is also just the nature of those traditional recipes. Because much precolonial food was naturally vegan, most of these recipes are as well. The ones that aren't are still vegetarian and the non-vegan ingredients are not front and center in those recipes and appear to be easy to substitute. (e.g. a sprinkle of goat's cheese on top that can be omitted, or a little butter). While I would prefer it be completely vegan and that seems a little more authentic if it was, the animal products play a rather small part in the book.
So far I've only tried making the cauliflower ceviche (missing from my copy but they posted on their facebook page) and not only was it simple to prepare, but delicious and healthy. I brought it to a summer potluck and it was very popular.
This is hands down my favorite cookbook and I am a confessed cookbook hoarder. I cook from this book weekly and it is incredible and everything I have made so far has been phenomenal. It reminds me a lot of my grandmother's cooking because she always made everything fresh and from her garden in Los Angeles. My family is actually not vegetarian or vegan but my adult daughter is and she recently moved out and keeps taking photos of recipes from my copy of the book to cook at home. I am ordering her a copy for Christmas right now. I have already given a copy of this book as a gift to two friends who also cook from it constantly. The raw tomatillo salsa is so damn good you will want to pour it over everything you eat. My kids love it and I have to make it by the jarful and keep it in the fridge all the time. Everyone fights over the chayote salad and yesterday we made the posole and the pot was damn near licked clean. This book has been a huge part of my ability to get my children (3 boys ages 7-13) to eat a more plant based diet which says a lot because these boys are like T-rex's most of the time with food. You will not regret buying this book, you will regret not buying it. Cook from it. Cook with love. Feed your friends and family. It is written beautifully, you will actually sit and read this cookbook. I love it so much. It is my favorite gift to give. I attached a photo of the raw tomatillo salsa and the chayote salad. It was gone 5 minutes later ;-)
I started following Luz on Instagram before I bought this book. Her story inspired me to eat more plant based foods. I love how most recipes in this book give you the background on how these dishes came about. She adds different plants and herbs to give these authentic Mexican dishes that extra kick for your immune system. I love using hibiscus instead of Jack fruit for tacos since Jack fruit can be a little stinky. You can actually order dried hibiscus on Amazon!
These recipes really work. I bought Decolonize Your Diet because I love the concept (and really liked the cover design, I admit), but now that I've been cooking from it, I have found every recipe I've tried so far to be delicious and easy to follow. Made the portobello fajitas the other night and even my mushroom-hating, only-eating-raw-bell-pepper 14-yr old couldn't stop eating them. They were SO good. Bravo to the authors for sharing their story and working for food justice and health, and for creating a fabulous cookbook that delivers.
In the US southwest, cookbooks, collected recipes by nuevomexicanos, tejanos, and californios, have been compendiums of resistance. Many of these cookbooks have been collected by women, the kitchen had been a female space and these books an available form of subversive resistance as food is culture. Moreover, these books stood against colonial erasure, against the melting pot, against the unbalanced diet that the overuse of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and white flour has brought health problems to many people. Cookbooks such as these even go back to the post-invasion Mexica codices detailing different kinds of tamales. Decolonize Your Diet is a modern culmination of the goals of many of the historic cookbooks. The goal of being mindful of health, reconnecting food to the spirituality and the earth, and preserving the ingredients and diets that have worked for thousands of years in Cemanahuac. Some recipes are new and inspired as they replace unhealthy ingredients with healthier vegetarian and native origin alternatives.
The recipes are inventive, creative, and delicious. I had to buy a bunch of ingredients on Amazon because they aren't available in my supermarket. They are absolutely correct that the modern diet is killing our people. We have to go back to our roots if we want to survive.
This is a fascinating read. I'm not vegetarian and have no intention of becoming one. But I do have problems finding vegetable dishes for meals that excite me or make me want to take the trouble to make them. I like quite a few of these recipes already and am looking forward to cooking them and including them in my repertoire going forward.
I'm Native and enjoy this book from that aspect, but even if I weren't, I'd enjoy the recipes from living in the Southwest so many years.
The book itself is grat but my copy came without chapters 1 through 3. And other chapters are doubled. I have two chapter 4's, for instance. I hadn't opened the book until now, and I ordered it a few months ago, so I'm out the cost of the book, but, warning for anyone who is getting the book, check right away that the pages are correct.