I hadn't heard of Pati Jinich before buying this book, but it turns out she has a popular PBS cooking programme, Pati's Mexican Table, in the United States, where she's been living for close to 20 years. The recipes go far beyond what most people would think of as Mexican food, but the cuisine, like many others, has long incorporated outside influences.
Jinich writes: "Some of my go-to dishes today are adaptations of the food that nurtured me when I was growing up in Mexico City. These foods have a special place in my DC home and in my heart, keeping me linked to my roots and keeping my boys [Jinich has three sons] connected as well, giving them a greater sense of who they are and where we come from. But the memories of my youth encompass much more than traditional Mexican food. Mexico City is a place that hums with old and new possibilities, with recipes passed down through generations by families who have never left, but also with the many new flavours and other traditions that newcomers to this huge metropolis have brought from different regions of Mexico and from different parts of the world.
"In the pages that follow, alongside the classic tacos and salsas that have been popular forever in taquerias, you will find hot dogs inspired by favourite Mexico City stands, where my sisters and I gorged ourselves at least once a week when we were teenagers; and stir-fries that my grandmother, who came to Mexico from Austria and loved Chinese food, used to make in her trusted wok.
"The researcher and adventurous cook in me never stops learning about and discovering new dishes from other cooks in Mexico … Because I was once a political analyst and historian, I always think I know a state or a region and its cuisine pretty well. But once I get there, I realise that what I knew was only one layer, and that I have overlooked many historical and regional foods, as well as new ways in which cooks are using traditional ingredients and new trends that have developed over the years since I moved to the United States."
On that note, she gives an eclectic collection of recipes that include open-faced Mexican gravlax sandwiches (the gravlax is flavoured with tequila, rather than aquavit); tortas with chicken, refried beans and plantains; pork tenderloin enchiladas with mole verde; macaroni with chipotle chicken; deep-dish cheese and poblano pie with avocado cream and pistachios; meatballs in guajillo sauce with zucchini; chocolate and hibiscus flower cookies; and marbled tres leches cake.