We jumped at the opportunity to highlight some of our wonderful award nominees. First up is Fany Gerson, author of My Sweet Mexico (Ten Speed Press, September 2010) and Paletas (Ten Speed Press, June 2011). Below, Fany gives us the inside scoop on My Sweet Mexico, which is a 2011 James Beard Foundation Book Award nominee in the Baking and Dessert category.
The Recipe Club: What inspired you to write My Sweet Mexico?
Fany Gerson: What inspired me were the wonderful sweets of Mexico and the people that have kept these traditions alive over the years through generations as part of a long standing oral tradition. Little has been written about them and yet they are incredible. Not only because of the enormous diversity and deliciousness but also because the recipes have a strong cultural and historical background that is fascinating. Apart from that, many of these traditional dishes are threatened with being lost forever, so what I felt wasn’t just a desire to create my own book but rather a need to document the history and attempt to give continuity.
TRC: What would Recipe Club members not know about you that directly influences your work?
FG: My dad directly influences my work. He is an incredible role model and didn’t want me to go to cooking school (he wanted me to go to art school)–so that pushed me to prove that this was my art all along. I am happy to report he is now very proud and understands my choice. He actually took me to a poetry class when I was 9 and that made me fall in love with words. To me, being able to write about the craft that inspires me day to day is a blessing.
“What inspired me were the wonderful sweets of Mexico and the people that have kept these traditions alive over the years through generations as part of a long standing oral tradition.”
TRC: If your book achieves one thing, what would you want it to be?
FG: I hope that people discover or at least are intrigued about the wonderful sweets of Mexico and its incredible cultural blend, but also appreciate the craft and love behind the wonderful variety that exists on plates around the country.
TRC: What is your favorite recipe from My Sweet Mexico, and why?
FG: This varies because it’s very hard to choose and I favor certain recipes for different reasons. Some are my favorite because of a nostalgia factor, others because they were new discoveries, and some because they are very special. Sometimes my favorite is simply what I am craving at the moment. Right now, I have two favorite recipes: the corn ice cream and the tomato turnovers. I guess I am craving summer! The ice cream is particularly on my mind because I have been testing recipes for my upcoming season at the Hester Street Fair and will be going to the annual ice cream fair in Mexico.
Don’t forget to check back in with us tomorrow for another award nominee spotlight!
See the entire list of our 2011 James Beard Award Nominees.