Book Review: Taco Night (Kate McMillen)

taco night

When I hear that something came from Williams-Sonoma, my initial suspicion is usually that it’s either A. overpriced, B. unnecessary, or C. all of the above. Their cookbooks, however, tend to be pretty decent in my experience. (At the MSRP they do run dangerously close to falling into category A, but fortunately it’s not hard to find them for cheaper at any number of retailers or online.) And that takes us to the entry at hand.

You see, while perusing a shelf full of books some time ago, the intrepid Gastrognome suddenly grabbed my sleeve and pointed. “Look!” she commanded urgently. “It’s called Taco Night—we have to get it!”

I considered that a pretty strong argument, so we bought it. And I have to say, we are pretty darn happy with this purchase.

Basically, if you like tacos (and unless you were born with neither taste buds nor a soul, you should like tacos), you might want to consider getting this book. The recipes cover a wide range, from the traditional (tacos al pastor, chicken tinga, beer-battered fish), to the more exotic (sweet potato and gree chilis, fried avocados) to the ever-trendy asian-fusion style (korean short ribs, tuna with wasabi crema). The book also arms you with recipes for various sides including beans, rice, and jicama salad, as well as condiments like salsas and guacamole. There is a lot of fun and deliciousness to be found in these pages.

Aside from that, the recipes are presented well (often accompanied by beautiful photos) and are easy to follow. The degree of difficulty is pretty low across the board, which in turn means that modifications, substitutions and alterations are also easy to pull off without having to worry. (The corn-avocado salsa from the ancho chili chicken tacos, for example, could be swapped into any number of other recipes in place of a more standard tomato salsa for a super easy way to have a whole new dish.) There is also certainly enough variety to keep people interested even if you just stick to things as they are; after our purchase, the Gastrognome and I went on a taco bender during which we made 8 different taco recipes over the course of nine days. (My personal favorite: grilled chicken, mango and green onion tacos. Minimum ingredients, maximum, well, really the only word for it is… )

So yeah, I like it. I bet you will too. Now, I am off to plan my next taco. The pan-seared scallops with lemon-cilantro aioli are calling my name.

Overall Grade: A

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