Truly Mexican By Roberto Santibañez, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011. Hardcover. $35; 264 pages
Truly Mexican focuses on salsas, guacamoles, moles, adobos, and pipianes, arguing they are the equivalent of the French "mother sauces": building blocks for all Mexican cooking. It's a neat concept, giving the book a strong, approachable window into a complex food culture.
Santibañez is a chef, so there's a lot of from-scratch prep, but recipes work. An adobo "should be so thick that if you tip your blender, it barely pours, instead inching forward like cooling lava." Hard to go wrong with this type of precise instruction.
GIVE THIS TO: Any cook happy to make the trip to a Latin market. —Julianna Grimes