THIS COLLECTION OF RECIPES from chef Michael H. Flores serves as his gastronomic autobiography—whetting the readers’ appetites with culinary delights passed down from relatives, family friends, professional colleagues, cooking school teachers, and even a childhood housekeeper. And it all comes seasoned with a dash of creativity. Flores’s San Antonio roots are found throughout the book, while international touches make the dishes unique. With a well-organized layout and a diverse selection of recipes, from down-home to gourmet, anyone excited about food should find something of interest in this cookbook.
My Family, My Friends, My Food is made up of traditional sections and one devoted to Tex and Mex, which features comfort-food favorites like Beef Brisket, Sloppy Joes, Migas, and Chili con Carne. The adventuresome cook won’t be disappointed, especially if she looks through the For Starters, On the Side, and Fish sections, which offer inventive ideas, including Spinach and Oyster Empanadas With Fennel Aioli, Roquefort Custards, Mashed Chipotle Sweet Potatoes, Tarragon-White Grape Carrots, Beer Boiled Shrimp With Raspberry Cocktail Sauce, and Mango-Glazed Tuna With Moroccan Guacamole.
Flores includes an introductory section on basic preparation techniques, term identifications, and product recommendations to help make his readers’ culinary handiwork “taste more like the ones I created in my kitchen.” He continues this endeavor with introductions for each chapter that outline each section and provide some basic information on the forthcoming recipes (for example, a discussion of the difference between an hors d’oeuvre and an appetizer).
In keeping with the theme of the book, Flores precedes each recipe with a brief description or story of his experiences with the dish. And in addition to the handy recipe index ordered by food type or main ingredient, he provides an index of his family and friends, with page numbers referencing any recipes by or stories about them. This way, the reader can find out who Rosa the housekeeper is and learn how to make her signature Chile Cheese Potatoes. Bon appetit!