Book Review: Tamales by Alice Guadalupe Tapp

If you are someone who loves Mexican cuisine, then you will know how much of a staple tamales are to the cuisine. I have been wanting to learn more about tamales because truth to told, they are a complete enigma to me—in both taste and preparation. So, when I saw the book Tamales I knew it would be the perfect book to teach me about the history of tamales, the basics of preparation and flavor, and how to branch out and create my own tamale recipes.

Tamales is a rather small book only consisting of only 133 pages. There are only seven micro chapters starting with what a tamale is and how to prepare them, and progressing to both simple sweet and savory recipes you can prepare at home. The introduction is where you will find the most of your information about tamales and wrapping styles. In the wrapping section is a picture illustration of wrapping techniques. When it comes to learning a new cooking style or cuisine, I prefer seeing picture tutorials of the author demonstrating a specific technique because it cuts out any confusion on my part.

The best part of Tamales is that most if not all of the recipes are followed by a picture of the finished products. Seeing the finished product was helpful to me because it allowed me to see if I was on the right path in creating the recipe. Even though the recipes are made of familiar and easy to find ingredients, there were a lot of them and if you are someone who is intimated by long recipes, I would highly suggest starting with some of the more simple dessert recipes.

For me, all the recipes were fun to recreate and I even ended up turning it into a cooking theme night at my house. The only thing I wish was different about the book was the sauce section because I do not like spicy food not matter how much yogurt and milk is in the world. I wish there were more mild sauces to create for people like myself, and just an overall increase of sauce recipes.


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