DEAN’S LIST 2017 PART I: TRAVEL INSPIRED COOKBOOKS
ISTANBUL & BEYOND (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017, 352 pages, $50 CAD hardbound) is by food writer Robyn Eckhardt. It’s an exploration of the diverse cuisines of Turkey, with excellent travel and food photography by David Hagerman. There is also material on stocking the Turkish pantry for the serious cook, and a glossary. This is the cross-roads country between Europe and Asia, and shows heavy influences from the surrounding countries such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Bulgaria and Greece. All courses are covered, and there is a separate index to recipes by category. For example, breads include borek, tahini buns, pan bread, kete, corn breads, flatbreads, hand-pies, and bread rings. Plenty of meat, but no pork. Historical cultural and travel notes accompany just about every recipe.
VENETO: recipes from an Italian country kitchen (Guardian Books/Faber and Faber, 2017, 288 pages, $42.95 CAD hardbound) is by Valeria Necchio, who grew up in the countryside of inland Veneto (not Venice itself). Here she tells stories of food, people and places, sharing recipes with credit. This is, as Alice Waters endorsed, regional home cooking at its best. The first part explores “then”, the second part does “now” (both 125 pages each) while the third part is the Venetian seasonal pantry. There’s baccala mantecato, schie frite, sarde in saor, ovi e sparsi, maroni rosti, fritaja de erbe – and scores more. Good company for Brunetti when he travels inland.
BANGKOK (Ten Speed Press, 2017, 360 pages, $47 CAD hardbound) is by Leela Punyaratabandhu, who writes about Thai food (she had previously authored Simple Thai Food). This one covers the food of Bangkok, her hometown. It’s loaded with street food which, of course, needs a strong urban/tourist environment. In addition to the photos of plated recipes, there are many stories of Bangkok with photos of the landscape. Here are 120 preps ranging from curried chicken puffs, omelette rolls with crabmeat and shrimp paste relish, chicken matasman curry, noodles and desserts. She’s got strong notes on pantries and rice, as well as the engaging stories of Bangkok foods.
DALMATIA (Hardie Grant Books, 2017, 224 pages, $57 CAD hardbound) is by Ino Kuvacic, who owns and chefs at Dalmatino in Melbourne. It’s this year’s Croatian cookbook (there is usually one a year). These are preps from Croatia’s Adriatic coast, with four chapters covering veggies, seafood, meat and sweets. Most of the photos are of the plated foods, but there are some obviously tourist-y ones from along the coast. Try brudet (Dalmatian fish stew), crni rizot (black risotto) and duved (sauteed veggies with rice). Engaging…
PROVENCE TO PONDICHERRY (Quadrille, 2017, 288 pages, $50 CAD hardbound) is by Tessa Kiros, with photography by Manos Chatzikonstantis and food styling by Michail Touros. It’s about the French threads in food and travel, and goes through Provence, Guadeloupe, Vietnam, Pondicherry, La Reunion, and Normandy – all within 300 or so pages. Part memoir and part recipes, with lots of photos. There’s rougail tomate, coriander chutney, sticky rice with coconut and ginger, tapenade, fried shallots – and more. A great guide for the traveller.
ACQUACOTTA (Hardie Grant Books, 2017, 272 pages, $50 CAD hardbound) is by Emiko Davies, who has lived in Tuscany for many years. This is the cuisine of Tuscany’s Silver Coast by the Tyrrhenian Sea (Monte Argentario, with its Port Ercole where she lived for awhile: “Cucina Maremmana”). These recipes and stories are dominated by the water and lagoon, although there are preps from the surrounding woods and cultivated farms. The chapter “Dal Mare e Dalla Laguna” seems to have many ancient seafood dishes from the fishing towns. She’s even got a bibliography for further reading. Lots of non-food photos and stories also makes this a travel work.
KING SOLOMON’S TABLE (Knopf, 2017, 386 pages, $47 CAD hardbound) is by Joan Nathan, multiple cookbook award winner (Beard, IACP, Child) and host of PBS cookery shows. For forty years she has specialized in Jewish cooking themes, and here gives us a culinary exploration of Jewish diaspora cooking from around the world. It is an informative guide to the international global scope of Jewish cooking, arranged by course and major ingredient: pantry matters, morning dishes, starters, salads, soups, grains, veggies, fish, poultry, meats and sweets. She’s got socca, spanakit (Georgian spinach salad) and keftes garaz (Syrian meatballs). Most of the 170 preps are accompanied by detailed cultural notes and photos. There is also an in-depth bibliography and a thorough index. Well-worth perusing.