The New York times reported on Monday that Penelope Casas had died aged 70 on August 11th as a result of complications of treatment for leukaemia.
The obituary notes that: "Her 1985 cookbook, 'Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain,' was among the first to chronicle for American readers the Spanish culinary tradition of tapas bars."
Mrs. Casas was described by the Times food writer and editor Craig Claiborne as "the leading American authority on the foods of Spain."
She would go on to publish seven books on Spanish garstronomy.
Born in Queens, New York City, she met her husband Dr. Luis Casas during a trip to Madrid and became a lifelong 'Spainophile'.
The Spanish government awarded her both the National Prize of Gastronomy and the Medal of Touristic Merit, as well as naming her Dame of the Order of Civil Merit.
Her final book, '1,000 Spanish Recipes,' completed shortly before her death, will be published next year.