Mely Martínez' The Mexican Home Kitchen

This article was originally published on Cherry Bombe, the brand that supports and celebrates women in all walks of the food industry. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month 2020, we teamed up with them to highlight Hispanic American women around the world who are making a difference in food. We also selected two recent cookbook publications for feature inclusion on their website. First up: Mely Martinez of the blog Mexico in my Kitchen and her new cookbook The Mexican Home Kitchen: Traditional Home-Style Recipes That Capture the Flavors and Memories of Mexico.

Mely Martínez, who grew up in Tampico, Mexico, and now lives in Dallas, Texas, has been sharing her recipes for traditional, home-style Mexican cuisine on her popular blog Mexico In My Kitchen for more than 10 years. This month, she finally made her cookbook debut with The Mexican Home Kitchen: Traditional Home-Style Recipes That Capture the Flavors and Memories of Mexico. It’s a celebration of Mexican culture and cuisine and a book that Mely hopes will remind people of the important role that food has in shaping our identities. “Nowadays, people are so busy that they rarely give themselves time to explore or revisit the foods that were enjoyed by previous generations,” she says. “Eventually, these can end up lost in time. I hope people remember that food is a part of our history and of who we are.”

We’re featuring three of Mely’s recipes from the cookbook on-site. Her Tacos de Bistec, her Pozole Rojo, and her Picadillo, all of which can be served alongside her Arroz Blanco or Arroz Rojo.

HOW I GOT MY BOOK DEAL

I was approached by Erin Canning, an editor at The Quarto Group, and I really liked the way that she explained the whole process. She made me feel very comfortable and in control of what was going to be in the book. I had been offered book deals by other companies on two other occasions, but it didn’t feel like the right time and I didn’t feel comfortable with the visions that they had for the book.

MY COOKBOOK TEAM

My son, David, took the photos for most of the recipes in this book, and I took a few of them. He also helped proofread the entire book—twice! Erin Canning was our editor at The Quarto Group. I did all the food and prop styling, using dishes and accessories that I have in my collection and ones that we use in our kitchen every day.

THIS BOOK WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT…

The overwhelming support from the loyal readers of Mexico in My Kitchen, who for years had expressed their desire to have my recipes in print. That was a huge motivation for me. I felt like I owed it to them to make this book a reality.

RECIPE(S) I’M MOST EXCITED ABOUT

The green and red enchiladas. They are something that I can eat many times and never get tired of. I’m very excited for the green enchiladas because I know it’s one that so many people are going to enjoy. With the red enchiladas, I feel like I’m going back to my mom’s kitchen and seeing her making them.

FIRST THING PEOPLE SHOULD MAKE FROM THE MEXICAN HOME KITCHEN

That will depend on what meal brings you the most memories from childhood. Some people will want to make the milanesa, while others will want to try a bowl of fideo soup. If you don’t have a favorite in the book yet, I guess green enchiladas (below) are a good place to start.

THE HARDEST PART

The fact that my English is not perfect, and that I had to make sure I was explaining all the processes and techniques properly. I want people to feel confident while making every recipe!

CREATING THE COVER

The design was very much what we had in mind. We always pictured it not having food on it, and instead just having letters and graphics. I really like that the Talavera design at the top and bottom was taken from the logo for my blog Mexico in My Kitchen, which was designed by a friend of mine as a gift.

ON MY MOOD BOARD

I didn’t use a mood board, but the team at Quarto did an excellent job putting the book design together and representing what the blog Mexico in My Kitchen wants to signify—our Mexican culture and the colors that represent it.

MY KITCHEN ATTIRE

Mostly jeans, a long sleeve shirt, and I always use an apron to cook. This is sort of my usual “uniform” for cooking, it’s how I feel the most comfortable.

INGREDIENT I CAN’T STOP USING

All the things that I use in my cooking tend to be the tried and true ingredients found in most Mexican kitchens. The most common ingredients found in Mexican dishes are onions, tomatoes, peppers, and garlic.

MOST USED KITCHEN TOOL

I use either a molcajete or my blender almost every day.

COOKBOOK EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE

For books in English, I would recommend The Taste of Mexico by Patricia Quintana, who was one of the greatest Mexican chefs of all time. I’d also suggest The Essential Cuisines of Mexico by Diana Kennedy, as it’s a compilation of three of her cookbooks and is packed with lots of information. But the best cookbooks in my collection are in Spanish! I’d recommend Y La Comida Se Hizo Facil, which was my very first cookbook I got when I got married.

To order your own copy of Mely’s new cookbook Mexico in my Kitchen, click here.

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