Book Reviews

Book Review: Armenian Cuisine

Armenian cuisine is one of the oldest cuisines of the Middle East, if not the oldest and by all accounts the most sophisticated. It consists exclusively of local fresh, seasonal foods, cooking techniques of the Armenian people, the Diaspora and traditional dishes.

Armenian nation’s roots go as far back as 2450 B.C. They occupied approximately half of what is Turkey, and a portion of northern Syria for a long time.

The nation has a glorious past of sustainable farming and animal husbandry with specialties that have been copied by others in the Middle East for centuries.

The Armenian Diaspora spreads from Lebanon to Argentina, from Russia to the U.SA, and every other country in between, including Singapore and Myanmar.

The Diaspora came about because of the 1915 genocide perpetrated by Ottoman Turks and the commercial acumen of Armenian traders. Armenians who inhabited south and sot eastern Asia Minot fled as the genocide proceeded.

Aline Kamakian who started her gastronomic enterprise in Qatar decided to create an Armenian cookbook that feature authentic recipes obtained from ladies who inherited them from their mothers.

She, her co-writer Barbara Drieskens, and photographer Vinnie Volkerijk travelled to cities in today’s Turkey and interviewed mothers, daughters, watched them cook their family recipes, and photographed the final presentation of each.

The photography of all the pictures, printing and paper quality are excellent, all of which add an extra dimension to this outstanding book.

Armenian cuisine uses meat, fish, vegetables, legumes, herbs, spices and wheat flour.

The predominant techniques are stuffing, frothing, pureeing, braising, pan-frying, baking, and breads.

Lamb, eggplant, and bread are basic ingredients pending on geographical location.

Even today fish plays an important role in the Armenian cuisine, although the country is landlocked. Marine culture in Armenia today is ell developed, and plays an important role in the economy. Lake Sevan, the largest in the country, is well known for its tasty lake trout.

Aline Kamakian`s Armenian cuisine includes salads, mezzes (appetizers), soups, vegetables, meat, chicken, fish, side dishes, pastries, and bread, pickles and preservers, and desserts.

All recipes were obtained from Armenians, are traditional and authentic.

This is an excellent book and right from the heart of grandmothers and mothers who have spent and spend their lives cooking for their families.

Armenian cuisine recipes happen to be labour- and skill intensive.

It is a wonderful book that ought to be on the bookshelves of everyone who likes to cook, and enjoys eating.

It is a good investment and will serve you well.

Highly recommended.
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