The vast, diverse cuisines of Latin America would seem to defy attempts to map them out. But chef and culinary historian Maricel Presilla has done just that with Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America (W. W. Norton & Company, 2012). The fruit of nearly 30 years of research in Mexico, Brazil, her native Cuba, and beyond, the 901-page cookbook traces the region's countless culinary paths as they intermingle and diverge, picking up streams from Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. Each of the 584 recipes for soul-satisfying dishes, from Guatemalan pipian to Peruvian duck, tells a story that Presilla weaves into her masterpiece.
__Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America_ (W. W. Norton & Company, 2012), $28.36 at Amazon.com_