Alice Waters, Paula Wolfert, and Craig Claiborne praise her, so it really doesn’t matter what I say about Diana Kennedy. Claiborne actually helped Kennedy get her start, encouraging her to open a cooking school in New York featuring the authentic Mexican cooking she picked up after years of living with her New York Times Central American correspondent husband Paul. In this way she became the first and foremost expert on Mexican cooking of the no-tortilla-chips-to-open-the-meal variety. The re-issue of her 1989 classic The Art of Mexican Cooking, therefore, is a celebration of her career and some wonderful cuisine. There’s no food porn illustrations, just fine stories and recipes about many moles, as detailed a description of tortilla-making as you might find, and even exotic, riskier fare like blood sausage, about which Kennedy wryly writes, “Reading about, let alone making moronga is not for the squeamish, and they should pass over the next few pages.” But no serious cook should pass over this book.


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