When it comes to cookbooks, I’ve got no shame. I buy several each year. They’re wedged into cabinets, they’re arranged on the coffee table, they’re on the kitchen counter, and they’re stacked on my nightstand. Even as my husband rolls his eyes (More?), I make room for another—that is, if it’s a good one. For me, a worthwhile cookbook delivers both insight into a culinary philosophy and smart recipes that actually turn out.

One such book is Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor (Hippocrene Books, Inc.), by Evangelina Soza and her daughters Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack and Veronica Gonzalez-Smith, which was released in October. The premise—family recipes passed down through the generations—could quickly stray into the saccharine-sweet category. Instead, the writing is frank, even as it is memory-driven. What I like best (aside from the fact that the recipes are easy to follow and successfully replicate) is that often you can see the evolution of a dish from the Mexican state of Chihuahua to El Paso, Texas, to Highlands Ranch (Marquez-Sharpnack’s home), and even to Germany (where Gonzalez-Smith now lives). Like all good dishes, Muy Bueno’s recipes are more than a collection of ingredients: They are stories. muybuenocookbook.com