So my plan for the beginning of this year was to start doing some Mexican cooking as "training" for a Mexican-themed party this summer. I have Diana Kennedy's Cuisines of Mexico and a Rick Bayless' book - I think it's Mexico One Plate at a Time. My usual method is to come up with some sort of menu, then start cooking my way through it, shifting the menu depending on what I like and don't like. But Mexican cooking is a completely new arena for me, and I'm feeling overwhelmed. I'm not sure how to put foods together in a coherent menu. This is usually a 30+ person crowd, so it's a buffet.
I'm also concerned about last minute cooking - it seems like Diana Kennedy insists nearly everything be cooked at the last minute. I've done too many parties in a whirlwind of chaos, and I want to do something a bit calmer this year. Is it impossible to do a full menu of Mexican food in which very little needs to be right before guests arrive? Also, I don't want the kitchen to get miserably hot, as I don't have access to the outdoors or central air or anything. I can have the oven on, but I would rather not have the oven and frying and all sorts of heat being produced. I would appreciate any menu suggestions, or any recipes to try from the two books mentioned above, or other books I could get. Really, any suggestions at all would be helpful to get me started. (I don't know why I'm finding Mexican so much more intimidating than I did, say, Russian, but I am.) Thanks.
I know it's off-topic, but if anyone knows of particularly good Mexican music, please email me. Thanks!