Recipe of Memory

Five Generations of Mexican Cuisine

Nominated for two Julia Child Cookbook Awards and a James Beard Award, a nonfiction Like Water for Chocolate that explores one Mexican-American family’s legacy of folklore, migration, and, of course, food

“A deft mix of recipes, family history, and social history. . . . Well-written and well-illustrated with period photographs. . . a book for both the kitchen and the study.” —Houston Chronicle

An eclectic mix of cookbook, family memoir, and social history, Recipe of Memory is a true and absorbing story that Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Victor Valle and his wife, Mary Lau Valle, have woven together from the contents of an antique chest—which included dozens of delicately hand-traced recipes dating back to circa 1888, family journals, and old photographs—left to them by Victor’s aunt.

In the tradition of Like Water for Chocolate, Recipe of Memory uses food and delectable recipes to trace the migrations of one family as they zigzag across the border separating Mexico and California. Alongside the family memoir, a parallel story unravels, one which offers an intriguing social history of late nineteenth-century Mexico.

Whether you’re absorbed by mouthwatering recipes such as Squab on a Bed of Saffron Rice, Chiles Stuffed with Shrimp or Asado de Carnero con Mole (Roast Leg of Lamb with Mole), or by the mesmerizing energy that motivated several generations of the Vargas family, you’ll find this sensual book to be, in the words of one of Mexico’s preeminent novelists Elena Poniatowska, a “generous gift.”