Trader Vic's Book of Mexican Cooking


by Victor J. "Trader Vic" Bergerson, Doubleday, 1973. Out of print. The author quickly states that this is actually a collection of Tex-Mex recipes, like those served at his long-gone Senor Pico's in San Francisco.

When asked years ago to open that restaurant in Ghirardelli Square, he began researching Mexican food. But unlike Rick Bayless or Diana Kennedy, whose subsequently published books that show a liking and a respect for the cuisine, Trader Vic was not impressed."I ate Mexican food until it almost gave me an ulcer," he charmingly writes. "In Mexico it was pretty greasy... Now I know I'm going to make a lot of Mexicans sore as hell -- you have to understand that I am an American, not a Mexican, and I eat what pleases me most. So, my wife and I went to work flying all over Mexico, eating their STUFF (my emphasis), and then making adjustments on it so it would be PALATABLE (my emphasis again) to Americans." What a diplomat!

Mercifully, a ghost cookbook writer takes over after his charming remarks, producing a decent collection of recipes. Some say Senor Pico's may have served as the template for what has since become the sort of Cal-Mex restaurant food served in Mexican-themed bars/restaurant coast to coast. Hardback with DJ, 287 pages. Book covers show only a trace of rubbing; DJ shows some wear at the extremities. VG+/VG.

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