In Encarnacion’s Kitchen 1 they discuss Encarnacion Pinedo’s larger contribution to the rise in popularity of Mexican cuisine in California. Her cookbook was not just a collection of recipes, though. It was an explanation of why California had such a love for fruits and vegetables, heavy spicing, and grilling over natural wood fires. Her cookbook also contained one-thousand recipes and was California’s first major collection of Mexican recipes. This was particularly important because she was a woman and literacy rates among women during the time were not high. Pinedo, however, was fluent in at least two languages. This helped her establish herself in what was a male-dominated area. This is particularly exceptional when looking at the study done by Rosaura Sanchez of nineteenth-century historian Hubert Howe Bancroft’s Californio testimonies. In these testimonies, Bancroft makes it very clear that women in California were revered for their subservience and Californio men were deemed to be effeminate. It was these conclusions that gave European men what they believed to be the right to colonize not just the land but also California’s women. The rest of the chapter details her extraordinary life and how she was able to rise above the expectations set upon her as a Latina woman in both the eyes of European colonists and her own culture.
In Encarnacion’s Kitchen 2 it is a collection of her recipes. All of these recipes are traditional Mexican dishes. However, they are written in a way that is attainable to the masses. This is especially interesting because they were written when California was being westernized due to Manifest Destiny. These recipes were written in such a way that people both native to the California area and the colonizers would both be able to appreciate the food.