The Yucatán Peninsula is home to one of the world's great regional cuisines. With a foundation of native Maya dishes made from fresh local ingredients, it shares much of the same pantry of ingredients and many culinary practices with the rest of Mexico. Yet, due to its isolated peninsular location, it was also in a unique position to absorb the foods and flavors of such far-flung regions as Spain and Portugal, France, Holland, Lebanon and the Levant, Cuba and the Caribbean, and Africa. In recent years, gourmet magazines and celebrity chefs have popularized certain Yucatecan dishes and ingredients, such as Sopa de lima and achiote, and global gastronomes have made the pilgrimage to Yucatán to tantalize their taste buds with smoky pit barbecues, citrus-based pickles, and fiery chiles. But until now, the full depth and richness of this cuisine has remained little understood beyond Yucatán's borders.
An internationally recognized authority on Yucatecan cuisine, chef David Sterling takes you on a gastronomic tour of the peninsula in this unique cookbook, Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition. Presenting the food in the places where it’s savored, Sterling begins in jungle towns where Mayas concoct age-old recipes with a few simple ingredients they grow themselves. He travels over a thousand miles along the broad Yucatán coast to sample a bounty of seafood; shares “the people’s food”at bakeries, chicharronerías, street vendors, home restaurants, and cantinas; and highlights the cooking of the peninsula’s three largest cities—Campeche, Mérida, and Valladolid—as well as a variety of pueblos noted for signature dishes. Throughout the journey, Sterling serves up over 275 authentic, thoroughly tested recipes that will appeal to both novice and professional cooks. He also discusses pantry staples and basic cooking techniques and offers substitutions for local ingredients that may be hard to find elsewhere. Profusely illustrated and spiced with lively stories of the region’s people and places, Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition is the long-awaited definitive work on this distinctive cuisine.
Mérida, Yucatán, México
Sterling is founder, proprietor, chef de cuisine, and teacher at Los Dos Cooking School, the first culinary institute in Mexico devoted exclusively to Yucatecan cooking. His work at Los Dos has been featured on The Martha Stewart Show (“Martha in Mexico”) and Mexico: One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless. He’s also been acclaimed by the New York Times, the New Yorker, Gourmet, Travel & Leisure, Globe & Mail, ELLE, National Geographic Traveler, Condé Nast Traveler, and Frommer’s.
"I know of no other book in print today, or in the past for that matter, that explains so meticulously the ingredients and history of the foods of Yucatán."
"This is the Yucatán from A to Z."
―William Grimes, New York Times Sunday Book Review
"Endorsements from Mexican culinary expert Diana Kennedy come few and far between, so Sterling, the founder of Los Dos Cooking School, must know what he’s doing. At 500-plus pages and coffee-table size, the book is sure to be a long-term, definitive reference guide."
“Lastly, Yucatán is published by the University of Texas Press, which in 2010 published the monumental Diana Kennedy work Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy. The UT Press deserves applause for the extraordinary care and quality of these books. It is one thing just to get matters of culinary importance down on paper. It’s another to have it produced with such elegance and beauty. So, if you buy Yucatán and Oaxaca too, you’ll be sending a message that these efforts are relished. That would be a third impact.”
―Cooking by the Book
"Starting the book knowing nothing about the Yucatan, except that it looks like a nice place to go on vacation, I quickly realized I was in the hands of an expert. I was easily drawn into the narrative of this ideologically isolated peninsula, even when that narrative had nothing whatsoever to do with food. History, geography, biology – you’ll get a little bit of everything with this book. Of course, eventually it all ties back to food and cooking, and I don’t know if there was a single recipe in this book that I wasn’t interested in trying."
―Katie at the Kitchen Door
“David Sterling has possibly penned the reader of the year with his six-and-a-half pound, 576-page “Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition,” surely the most authoritative tome that land’s cuisine has ever seen.”
―Star News Online
"Sterling does a great job as a culinary travel guide, offering the inside scoop on the people, places, and ingredients of one of the world’s greatest regional cuisines."
―Dave DeWitt, Albuquerque's Local IQ
"David Sterling must have taken great joy in putting this book together, for it reflects tireless research that was surely driven by an intense desire to learn as much as possible about the cuisine and the culinary traditions of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula."
"Sterling's 2014 book seems destined to mark him as the authority on the foodways of Yucatán."
―Bob Townsend, Austin American-Statesman