Eat Mesquite and More: A Cookbook for Sonoran Desert Foods and Living
Rainsource Press (JANUARY) Softcover $34.95 (352pp) 978-0-692-93874-4 Diverse recipes aptly convey both the bounty and the natural beauty of the desert.
Eat Mesquite and More: A Cookbook for Sonoran Desert Foods and Living is an inviting tribute to a region and its naturally delicious cuisine.
Recipes fill the bulk of the book—nearly two hundred of them—but this book’s usefulness and vitality transcend simple food preparation. Recipes are organized by the desert ingredient they feature—including mesquite, prickly pear, acorn, and wolfberry—and each section has a practical yet evocative introduction to the ingredient’s use, flavor, health benefits, abilities, and limitations.
These deep, even heartfelt, insights are at the book’s vital core. Its in-depth understandings make it possible for those outside of Sonoran traditions to succeed in cooking with the book’s less familiar ingredients. Closing essays on living and eating in place provide a transformative way to see any region and cuisine through new eyes.
Recipes were written and tested by contributors from across the region. As a result, the book is diverse in its flavor and expertise, though all contributors are unified in their love of desert food. Recipes are easy to follow, including all of the basic information—quick descriptions, ingredients, instructions, and yield projections— that are needed.
Headings call out the wild ingredients contained in each recipe, the appropriate harvest season for them, and the culinary tradition that the recipes draw from. All contain wild ingredients rooted in the Sonoran Desert, but many draw from flavor palates from around the globe (such as Prickly Pear Borscht).
Every meal of the day and part of a meal is covered—consider Mesquite Ice Cream for dessert—and there are even recipes for ingredients, such as Ironwood Flour. Helpful icons call out dishes that are gluten-free, solar cooked, raw, and vegan.
Many of the ingredients will be tough to find outside of the region, though some, like chia, are widely available and others may be found in specialty markets. Images, including photos and sketches, are clear and vibrantly colorful. They aptly convey both the food and the natural beauty of the desert.
In Eat Mesquite and More, culinary adventurers and those who love the Sonoran Desert will find the enticement and confidence they need to make the most of desert produce—for their palates, for their health, and for the desert itself.