Diana Kennedy, an Englishwoman whose 1972 cookbook “The Cuisines of Mexico” revealed the glories of regional Mexican fare to American readers, died on Sunday at her residence in Michoacán, Mexico. She was 99.

Her buddy Clayton Kirking and her editor Ana Luisa Anza confirmed the dying however didn’t specify the trigger.

At a time when most Individuals’ idea of Mexican meals was restricted to tacos and enchiladas, Ms. Kennedy unfurled an ornate culinary tapestry, exploring the distinctly regional nature of Mexican cooking, outlined, just like the cuisines of Italy and China, by native geography, local weather and components.

“The regional dishes of Sonora, or Jalisco, have virtually nothing in frequent with these of Yucatán and Campeche; neither have these of Nuevo León with these of Chiapas and Michoacán,” she wrote within the guide’s first chapter. In Oaxaca, she defined, “sure chilies are grown and used which are discovered nowhere else in Mexico.”

The Mexican meals recognized to most Individuals, she wrote, was a travesty: “a crisp taco crammed with floor meat closely flavored with an all-purpose chili powder; a soggy tamal coated with a sauce that turns up on all the pieces — too candy and too overpoweringly onioned — a couple of fried beans and one thing else that appears and tastes like all the remainder.” This state of affairs she hoped to right.

The guide bought 100,000 copies and was instantly acclaimed as essentially the most authoritative work in English on the topic. Its intensive discipline analysis into components and methods went past “The Full Guide of Mexican Cooking,” which Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz, one other Englishwoman, had printed in 1967. In practically 200 recipes, Ms. Kennedy took readers on a tour by means of one of many world’s most various cuisines, wanting into the mysteries of masa, mole, nopal cactus and the pungent herb epazote.

“She was the primary to take Mexican cooking critically and present the true cooking of the nation fairly than interpreted American variations,” the chef Rick Bayless, the proprietor of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago, informed The New York Times in 1996. “With out that mannequin, I by no means would have been as interested in learning Mexican delicacies as I used to be in my early years.”

In “The Tortilla Guide” (1975) and “My Mexico” (1998), Ms. Kennedy continued the journey begun in “The Cuisines of Mexico,” elaborating on her findings as she roamed the nation in her pickup truck, quizzing native cooks, taking notes and creating, as a aspect mission, an atlas of indigenous herbs and crops.

Alongside the best way, she clued readers in on the secrets and techniques of creating wasp’s nest salsa, roasting an entire ox or cleansing black iguana for a particular Oaxacán tamale.

“There may be at all times somebody who needs to know learn how to clear an iguana, so why not?” she informed an interviewer for the journal Writing on the Edge in 2011. All three books have been gathered in a single quantity in 2000 beneath the title “The Important Cuisines of Mexico.”

Diana Southwood was born on March 3, 1923, in Loughton, within the English county of Essex. Her father was a salesman and her mom a schoolteacher. The outbreak of World Battle II interfered with plans to attend faculty. As an alternative, she served in Wiltshire and Wales with the Girls’s Timber Corps, set to the duty of measuring tree trunks to evaluate the quantity of timber.

After the struggle she was a housing supervisor in Scotland, working with mining households and taking finances journeys to France, Spain and Austria, the place sampling the native delicacies was on the high of her agenda.

In 1953 she emigrated to Canada, the place she held a wide range of jobs, together with working a movie library and promoting Wedgwood china. She started visiting the Caribbean, and on a visit to Haiti in 1956 she met and fell in love with Paul P. Kennedy, a correspondent for The New York Instances in Central America and Mexico. He had gone to Haiti to cowl the most recent revolution there.

They married in Mexico Metropolis, Mr. Kennedy’s base of operations, and Ms. Kennedy, fascinated by the brand new dishes she was encountering, started exploring the town’s markets, which, she told Saveur in 2012, “actually blew my thoughts.”

She added: “It was simply the colour of all the pieces, and the smells, and all of the wild issues that I hadn’t seen. I merely needed to go residence and prepare dinner them.”

Ms. Kennedy pressed buddies for recipes, with restricted success. “They’d chuckle and ship me to speak to their maids,” she told The Guardian in 2003. “The maids would say, ‘You need to go to my village,’ and that’s how I began driving all around the nation monitoring down recipes.”

She was aided by the cookbooks of Josefina Velázquez de Léon, one of many first Mexican writers to move into the countryside to gather native recipes from church teams.

Ms. Kennedy moved to Manhattan in 1965 after her husband fell sick with most cancers. He died in 1967 at 62.

With the encouragement of Craig Claiborne, The Instances’s restaurant critic, who had dined with the Kennedys in Mexico Metropolis, she started providing cooking lessons on Sunday afternoons in her condominium on the Higher West Facet. Certainly one of her college students, Fran McCullough, persuaded her to develop a cookbook for Harper & Row, the place Ms. McCullough was the poetry editor. The 2 labored collectively on Ms. Kennedy’s first 5 books.

Ms. Kennedy spared no effort to trace down info. She served an apprenticeship in a bakery earlier than writing her tortilla guide. She traveled dusty again roads by bus or in her truck, sleeping within the again, en path to distant villages in quest of obscure recipes, questioning saleswomen at native markets or wangling invites to residence kitchens.

“I’m out to report what’s disappearing,” she told The Times in 2019. “I drive over mountains, I sit with households, and I file.”

She took a dim view of cooks and writers who didn’t do the identical, and her criticism could possibly be withering. “They’ve not carried out the journey and the analysis that I’ve carried out,” she informed Saveur. “None of them, not one. I’ve traveled this nation, wandering — it’s why I’m not wealthy! — and taking time, and no person else has carried out that. No person else has seen a sure chile at a sure stage in a market in Chilapa, after which gone again in six months and seen different chiles.”

Ms. Kennedy relocated completely to Mexico in 1976, dwelling first in Mexico Metropolis and later in an adobe home she constructed close to Zitácuaro, about 100 miles west, the place she gave intensive cooking lessons.

Info on survivors was not instantly accessible.

She continued to put in writing such important cookbooks as “Recipes From the Regional Cooks of Mexico” (1978), “The Artwork of Mexican Cooking” (1989), “From My Mexican Kitchen — Methods and Elements” (2003) and “Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy” (2010).

In a meals memoir, “Nothing Fancy: Recipes and Recollections of Soul-Satisfying Meals” (1984), she interspersed such decidedly non-Mexican dishes as chilly jellied tongue, Iranian broiled lamb and crumpets.

In 2020, she was the topic of a documentary, “Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy,” directed by Elizabeth Carroll, who adopted her as she cooked and taught in her solar-powered residence. The New York Instances referred to as it “a energetic and uncritical portrait of a girl as captivated with composting as chilaquiles, one who will pitch a match when you put garlic in your guacamole.”

In her later years, Ms. Kennedy labored with the Nationwide Fee for the Information and Use of Biodiversity, recognized by its Spanish acronym Conabio, to file and digitize her assortment of recipes, drawings and notes on each Mexican delicacies and the nation’s native edible crops.

In 2010, she gave The Chicago Tribune a terse evaluation of her work. “I’m tenacious,” she stated. “And I like to eat.”

Christine Chung contributed reporting.

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