Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cookbook Review: Authentic Cuban Cuisine by Martha Abreu Cortina

I have been graciously asked by Pelican Publishing to review Authentic Cuban Cuisine by Martha Abreu Cortina.

Ms Cortina is a native Cuban who learned to cook by watching her mother. Years ago she sat down with her and copied every recipe she enjoyed so much. Now these recipes are available to us.

Authentic Cuban Cuisine lives up to its name; these traditional recipes are as authentic as they come.  From appetizers to desserts and every course in between, Ms Cortina lays out a reference-style recipe for every scrumptious meal.  The ingredients are clearly listed in red and the instructions on the side are easy to follow.  Alternative ingredients are offered for those of us who live in areas where Spanish markets are not readily available: for example using Polska or turkey Kielbasa instead of chorizo.

Included is an English/Spanish ingredients list which I found very useful as well as an English index and a Spanish one for those of us who are familiar with the recipe by the Spanish name. There is also an extensive beverages section including everything from mixed drinks such as the popular Mojito to the Wheat Shake (Batido de Trigo).

In going through this book, it reminded me of a typical Cuban kitchen. These are the home-cooked meals I remember as a child: the desserts my abuela made such as rice pudding (arroz con leche), the roast pig (lechon asado) of nochebuena, and the everyday black beans and rice.

If anything was lacking it was a sandwich section which we can only hope will be included in a future edition. :)

Check back soon as I will be replicating a recipe from Authentic Cuban Cuisine.

I have included a link for those of you who may be interested in purchasing this book.*  Click here.

*Please note, Cuban in the Midwest is NOT making any money off the proceeds from the sale of this book.


  1. This cook book sounds wonderful. Nothing like your grandmother's recipes to really give you the feel of what local cooking should be. I am excited to get this one now and to see your future posts on some of the recipes.

  2. Another good book I recommend is "Memories of a Cuban Kitchen" by Mary Urrutia Randelman everything in it is very authentic, you will find most of out Potaje's, fritters, seafood dishes in there too, she has some of the classics like the "Chilindron de Carnero" and stuff (the strong Spanish root dishes) and recipes that will even use the sacred "Pimenton de la Vera" (sweet smoked spanish paprika)

    I'll have to check this book out too :) my Cuban cookbook was always my grandmother, and other peoples Cuban abuelas lol. as well as blogs like yours and from other fellow cubans :) hey you taught me to make "Pollo al Vino", the perfect ratio for "Croquettas", and oven baked "Empanadas de Guayaba" just to name a few ;)

  3. Nathan I like "Memories of a Cuban Kitchen" also. "Authentic Cuban Cuisine" doesn't have much narrative. It's very straight-forward.

    We learn from everyone we come in contact with. I've learned quite a bit from you too my dear. :)