Before the mid-1980s, finding a Spanish cookbook in the library on the shelf of the local bookstore in the USA was difficult, if not impossible. With the explosion in the popularity of Spanish food (particularly tapas) in the 1990s, as well as the celebrity status of Spanish chefs like Ferran Adria and Jose Andres, the number of Spanish cookbooks being published grew exponentially. Many of the cookbooks were coffee table books with beautiful, full-page, color photographs of styled, mouth-watering traditional, modern and easy to make Spanish dishes.
The cookbooks have attractive photographs on glossy pages, but how do you know that any of them are worth the price? Were they authentic? Were they tested? In the ingredients lists, did they include only metric measurements of weight and volume, or also the US system of cups, teaspoons, etc? These are some of the questions we answered in our book reviews. From all the cookbooks on the subject of Spanish food, we narrowed it down to three that we believe are worthy of space in your kitchen, or to give as gifts to a Spanish food lover.
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1080 Recipes by Simone & Ines Ortega
Practical Guide to Preparing 1,080 Recipes from Spain has been considered the "Bible for Spanish Cooks" since it was originally published in 1972 in Spain. 1080 Recipes has been compared to The Joy of Cooking because it has simple, easy-to-follow recipes for the average home cook. It was revised and updated with the help of her daughter, Ines Ortega. Then, it was translated and published in English in 2007, with both American and metric measurements.
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Tapas, The Little Dishes of Spain by Penelope Casas
The first edition of Tapas was the cookbook that introduced Spanish tapas to American, back in 1985. Ms. Casas went on to write many more excellent Spanish food cookbooks. Tapas, and the 2007 edition added over 100 new recipes and more photos. Tapas is filled with several hundred authentic tapas recipes, found in neighborhood bars in Spain. The recipes are well-tested and good results are guaranteed. An added bonus is that the author provides the reader with a short story or anecdote with each recipe.
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The Book of Tapas by Simone & Ines Ortega
The Book of Tapas is a relatively small, hardbound cookbook with over 250 easy tapas recipes. There are many classic, as well as modern tapas recipes to choose from, and an added benefit is the section of tapas recipes from famous chefs. This cookbook is from the mother-daughter team of Simone and Ines Ortega, well-known cookbook authors, and cooks in Spain.