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.
By David Sterling
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.