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For American devotees of the Spanish kitchen, this is definitely one to own, a publishing event. A physically impressive book, not only for its heft but also its attractive design, durability, and conveniences (American units, satin page markers), it's actually a huge improvement over the Spanish paperback original. The recipes are clearly and well-written, and do represent a nearly exhaustive compilation. But this collection is not without faults.
First, a few words about the presentation. It would have been nice, in light of Spain's tremendous regional diversity, if the geographical provenance of each recipe had been identified. Too often outsiders have a monolithic view of Spain, its culture and cuisine. Spain is not just the land of paella and sangria - and the best Spanish cookbooks illuminate this culinary mosaic. Certainly, Ortega offers a sweeping itinerary, but she's not much of a tour guide. For that matter, it's always nice when cookbook authors introduce their recipes with brief blurbs that pique both the appetite and the imagination. Casas' The Foods and Wines of Spain, Mendel's Cooking from the Heart of Spain, and Von Bremzen's The New Spanish Table all do a great job with this - but it's entirely lacking here. If you're like me and like stories to go with your food, you'll be disappointed. In fact, there's nothing artful or romantic about Ortega's style. This probably reflects 1080's original purpose as a ready-reference for busy housewives. Very much a no-nonsense, "Joy of Cooking" approach. Ortega's recipes are just that - simply recipes. She doesn't even bother to offer side dish or wine pairing suggestions.
My second and major complaint is that Castilian cuisine is so woefully underrepresented. Inexplicably, such cherished and delectable staples as gallina en pepitoria, pollo al ajillo, cochifrito, judiones, caldereta, patatas revolconas, patatas a la riojana, huevos rotos, migas, and sopa castellana are all missing. Most puzzling of all is the omission of cocido, one of Spain's greatest and most truly "national" dishes. What could Sra. Ortega have been thinking?! (If you'd like to cook these dishes, you can find recipes in Casas' volume cited above. For more on Castilian food, see Mendel's book, which provides excellent coverage of southern Castile ("La Mancha"); northern Castilian cooking is still awaiting treatment in English, but if you can read Spanish, Cocina y gastronomia de Castilla y León is a good source.)
All in all, though, this book is recommended for the serious Spanish cook and fills - literally and figuratively - a wide gap on the shelf. Despite the glaring absence of some recipes, many others are here that are available nowhere else in English. Even if it's not the last word, this is a valuable reference worth owning. That said, for the reasons given above I think there are much better books for newcomers to Spanish cooking. If I had to pick one in English, it would be Casas' - the first in English, and still the best.