Chef Rick Bayless is well-known in the United States for his fine-dining Mexican restaurants, most of which are in Chicago, Illinois. He hosts the television programme Mexico - One Plate at a Time, and has released a companion book to the series, in which he shows viewers and readers that there's much more to Mexican food than tacos and enchiladas.
In the introduction to the book, Bayless writes, "When it comes to Mexican cooking, most of us aren't even familiar with the everyday classics found in Mexican kitchens all through the country - the moles, ceviches, adobos and barbacoas - let alone all the nuances and specialities of Mexico's regional cuisines. We're still at the 'spaghetti-and-meatballs stage' - which is how I describe our knowledge of Italian food just 25 years ago.
"So I wrote this book to help us take the first steps toward real Mexican cooking - steps that parallel the progress we've made in our understanding of real Italian or Chinese cooking. I've dedicated these pages to a celebration of classic (rather than regional) Mexican cuisine, dishes that make all Mexican mouths water.
"But I don't think that means you'll find great recipes for fajitas, burritos, nachos, taco salads and the like. Those are Mexican-American dishes. And quite frankly, they seem simplistic in comparison to most of the classic cooking across the border, like long-simmered, complexly spiced red mole with braised turkey; tender, aromatic pork in banana leaves; and fish baked with tomatoes, jalapenos and olives."
Apart from the mole (he gives only one version [there are many types]) and the tamales, most of the recipes are easy (although finding the correct fresh and dried chillies might prove difficult). They include meal-in-a-bowl ranch-style chicken soup; cheese and mushroom quesadillas; chicken with pumpkin seed sauce; carne asada; queso fundido; enchiladas; and Mexican seafood stew.