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Cocina Yucateca

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408.     [MEXICAN COOKBOOK]. ESPINOSA, Manuel. Manual de cocina Yucateca. Cuarta edición corregida y aumentada. Mérida de Yucatán: Librería de Espinosa, Calle 65, entre las 56 y 58, 1906. [1-3] 4-144 pp. 8vo (21.2 x 15 cm), original half red Mexican sheep over embossed red cloth, spine with raised bands lettered and decorated in gilt. Spine rubbed at extremities, cloth moderately stained and rubbed, corners bumped; light dampstaining to lower portion of leaves occasionally touching text, several old ink Puebla library stamps partially effaced on title page, p. 136, last page, and endpapers.

     Fourth edition, augmented and corrected edition, adding three of the most famous moles of Yucatan. Not in standard sources. The editor’s preface states that this book contains many foreign recipes that have been introduced to Yucatecan cuisine and cooking, and that the recipes are generally those that can be easily accomplished under local conditions and with local ingredients. Among foreign influences indicated are “Bacalao á la francesa,” “Langosta á la americana,” “Bifstec á la inglesa,” “‘Bifstec’ á lo Chateaubriand,” “Pollo á la holandesa,” “Queso de Nápoles,” and “Pan francés.” Recipes that speak of influences closer to home include “Sopa de chile de Veracruz,” “Bacalao á la Campechana,” “Estofado yucateco,” “Pavo asado, al estilo del país,” “Pollos en arroz á la mexicana,” and “Penuchos á la campechana.” Despite whatever international flavor some of the scattered recipes may give to the text, the recipes are overwhelmingly suited to the region and use local ingredients that could probably be easily obtained. Among the favored meats, for example, are turkey, chicken, tongue, various types of seafood, and beef. Eggs are clearly a dietary staple. Fresh vegetables would seem to be in short supply given the paucity of recipes for them, although the preparation of the venerable chile relleno is described.

     This book assumes a level of cooking skill that would baffle most modern cooks; indeed, most of the recipes would be a challenge for the average cook in the twenty-first century. Because culinary knowledge was usually passed down from female generation to female generation, certain skills and knowledge could not be subsumed in a book, no matter how accurate it might be otherwise. For example, judging the proper temperature of a pan or an oven was a true skill in an era when there were no thermostats to regulate such things. Thus, the directions often contain instructions that are no more specific than “cook in the oven until done” or “heat the oven.” On the other hand, knowledge of exactly how to serve or present a dish is not assumed in this text, which abounds with helpful hints and tips on such matters. For serving “Chayote guisado,” for example, the text recommends, “se le pone un poquito de aciote para darle color.” One may arrive at an appreciation of the total skill set required to successfully use this book by reading the recipe for “Timbal de pollos con macarrones,” which is nearly a page long (pp. 86-87) and contains such directions as “use about as much as you can pick up with your fingers,” “don’t let it be exposed to air,” “throw in more than half the Gruyere cheese and enough butter,” “warm the oven and when it’s hot put it out,” “stir with great care,” and “be very careful lest you burn it.”


Sold. Hammer: $550.00; Price Realized: $660.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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