Southern food meets really southern food

Sandra Gutierrez makes a good case for a culinary combination that I hadn’t thought about. In the Cary, N.C. author and cooking teacher’s new book, “The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South” (UNC Press, $30), she points out shared ingredients and traditions. Corn meal and beans, in particular, are pillars of both food styles, and each style drew from native, European and African foods.

Gutierrez mentions in the introduction to this user-friendly book that she was born in the United States, then moved with her Latin American parents to Guatamala, where she grew up. (The introduction is full of research and food detail, but I wish I saw a little more of the author’s emotions in it.)

Gutierrez’s pimiento cheese with chipotles and ancho chile powder? Sign me up for that. Stuffing tamales with collard greens brings Southern to Latin food.

The popularity of Latin American flavors should serve this book well. As Gutierrez points out, it was once hard to find ingredients like achiote oil or masa – now, they’re as close at hand as pork rinds and Duke’s mayo. Her experience as a cooking teacher shows in the clearly written recipes.

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