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They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. If you are in love with Mexican-style kitchens or even just the general idea of redecorating your kitchen, the book MEXICOCINA is a must-read for you! It is a large, sturdy paperback at 275 pages that is the oversized type you display on your coffee-table. And it is bursting with full-color images of Mexican kitchens exquisitely captured by internationally renowned photographer Melba Levick. The extensively researched text by Betsy McNair reflects a strong love of place and culture. Even the photo captions are engaging with their tidbits of unusual information, and there are recipes in each chapter.
But the purpose of the book is to introduce the kitchens over the cuisine, as reflected in the full title: MEXICOCINA – The Spirit and Style of the Mexican Kitchen. And it accomplishes this mission with great appeal and a real sense of what is accessible and available to those of us regular people with a limited budget. Much of these decorative touches can be obtained from imports shops on eBay, for example. The book does not go into how to achieve this style. Instead, it documents it as it occurs in Mexico and gives us enough photographs and information to soak up and stimulate our imaginations. It is up to us if, or how, we want to make changes to our own kitchens, and that is okay with me. I would rather have the book spend its text and photos on showing me all the good examples that it can find of Mexican kitchens rather than wasting space on telling me how to replicate the look. I can figure that out for myself.
Mexican hacienda style is not for everyone. At first glance into this book, the phrase “miles of tiles” may occur to you. You have to really like Talavera tiles from Puebla, Mexico. They are everywhere in these kitchens, often covering entire walls and counters, and their effect is warm, earthy, eye-catching, and lively. If you are the austere Shaker-kitchen type of person, you may go completely bananas after spending time in a Talavera-tiled kitchen. It will be way too visually stimulating to you and you may even find it a coarsely overdone look. Likewise, it helps if you adore earthenware bowls, strings of garlic and red chiles, copper-bottomed pots, wrought-iron baker racks, wooden spoon racks, and clay effigies of saints and critters and devils. And that’s not even getting into the colors – rich mustard gold, paprika red, terracotta, sage green, and mango orange. If you are already a big fan of the bold colors of India or the robust country appeal of Tuscany style and French Provence décor, you will love this book. It can be found on Amazon.com: Mexicocina: The Spirit and Style of the Mexican Kitchen
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