Mexicocina is the first cookbook by Maggie Unzueta from Mama Maggie’s Kitchen, featuring authentic Mexican recipes. Order your copy today!
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I was enchanted by my grandmother’s cooking. She was my tocaya, my namesake. My memories of her are filled with endless stories she told in her tiny and sparse Mexican kitchen. She taught me the names of Mexican chile peppers, how to smear masa on a corn husk, and which dishes are best served on certain days. I learned to make Mexican food with her.
Like many Mexican home cooks, my abuelita never measured anything. It was a pinch of this and a handful of that. She was a magician in her kitchen, and everything she cooked was made with love.
When she passed away, I wanted to preserve our culture for my family and, most of all, my son. I set out to create a Mexican food blog that honored our family history with authentic traditional recipes. This cookbook is a continuation of that labor of love.
It wasn’t until then that I became obsessed with recreating her recipes and learning everything about Mexican food. I realized then just how much my time in Durango, my travels, and growing up in L.A. had affected my views and taste buds on Mexican food.
Spanish may be my native language, but I grew up in the L.A. area. Our family friends were either Mexicans or first-generation Mexican-American, and that influence was powerful. There were many adaptations made on the U.S. side to traditional recipes that either enhanced or completely changed the dishes.
After high school, I also had the privilege of living in Tabasco, Mexico with my tia and her family. Southern Mexico is SO different from the north. Hot. Humid. Jungle. Ruins. Bananas still on the branches were sold at the mercado. I took classes in Nacajuca outside of Villahermosa with the indigenous Chontal people who did not speak Spanish.
Today, I live in San Diego near the border. We travel regularly to Baja California, and I have adopted Tijuana as our home away from home. The food scene in Baja is very interesting. There are people from all over the country, and I have been exposed to foods I would not have otherwise discovered.
All of my experiences traveling across Mexico, the L.A. Mexican food scene, and my frequent cross-border trips have formed my unique food perspective. I am drawn to Mexican comfort food like tamales, Mexican sweet bread (pan dulce), and just a simple bowl of beans. My favorite dishes are ones that make me feel warm when it’s cold outside; like pozole, atole, and a good caldo de albondigas.
My son (aka my redhead) is the reason I started my blog. He also has an insatiable love for Mexican food. He can snack on tortilla chips and salsa all day long. Birria tacos are his favorite and a treat reserved for special occasions.
I have spoken to my son in Spanish since birth. As a toddler, he used to help me in the kitchen. He couldn’t read, but he could smell. He would pull up a chair and smell all the spices until he found the one I needed for cooking. Those moments when he cooks with me are some of my fondest memories. These recipes are my gift to him to carry on our family traditions.
From Birria de Res estilo Tijuana to Jalisco’s Carne en Su Jugo, I love sampling regional variations of Mexican food. It’s one of my favorite things in the world.
Mexicocina will take you on a virtual Mexican road trip of flavors with an emphasis on northern cuisine.
For me, Mexican food is much more than a recipe book filled with pictures and instructions. Mexican cooking is about family, tradition, history, and what I learned from my grandmother’s kitchen – Mama Maggie’s Kitchen.
The Mexicocina cookbook is full of beautiful pictures that my grandmother would have loved as well as easy step-by-step instructions. On the blog, you’ll even find many videos that supplement these recipes.
Mexicocina also features a bit of Mexican history and culinary traditions to help preserve our Mexican heritage and culture.
After more than a decade of writing and posting on the Mama Maggie’s Kitchen blog, I have pulled together some of my favorite and most popular recipes into this special cookbook.
It is my sincere hope that you will use the book and cook from it often. Mexican food is meant to be loved and shared, so please enjoy!