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Jinich, the star of the national PBS cooking show Pati's Mexican Table, is an academic who formerly worked in Washington, D.C., at a policy think tank. Jinich, who is Jewish-Mexican and grew up in Mexico City, switched careers because of her overwhelming passion for food, specifically Mexican food. "Mexican home cooking is beautiful in its simplicity, tremendously convenient, and wholesome," she says. Jinich accomplishes her goal and does an excellent job of inspiring home cooks to make dishes from her native country in her first cookbook. Alongside her recipes, which she says "have come to my table from many paths," she shares Mexican cook's tricks-lessons passed down from generation to generation in her family: for example, how to control chile heat. The book is filled with bright, fresh flavors and dishes that are wonderful in their simplicity. Classics like pico de gallo are joined by Yucatan-style pickled red onions. Salads are vivid, such as watermelon and tomatillo salad with feta cheese and jicama, beet, orange, and caramelized peanut Christmas salad. The "Anytime Vegetarian" chapter gives readers delicious meatless options, like the plantain and refried bean quesadillas. Equally enticing are shrimp croquettes in tomato broth; sticky chicken with apricots, tamarind, and chipotle; and shredded pork in ancho-orange sauce. Agent: Peter W. Smith. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.