This coffee table book with beautiful photographs contains many recipes that the author claims to have researched personally in situ.
These days the Internet is full of recipes, and no doubts there are recipes from Turkey somewhere, but those that are in the book are more authentic and appealing.
Some, she seems to have modified to western palates.
Most ingredients mentioned in the recipes are relatively easy to fin in large North American cities, especially in specialized stores.
More and more food from Turkey are now being exported to western European and North American markets partially because of emerging Turkish immigration and growing communities in large European and North American cities.
The reader who visited Turkey and liked the food and wants to recreate at least some of the recipes will find the results, irrespective of cooking knowledge and skill, to be different, may be less tasty. This must be attributed to the fact when food is shipped over long distances it loses its taste because it was harvested partially ripe, or even unripe. The “terroir” may not be the same for the sesame seeds mentioned in the recipe. They may even be grown in a completely different region or another country.
The book is conveniently divided into meze, (appetizers), soups, breads, pastry, vegetables, salads, cracked wheat, fish and seafood, poultry and meats.
Food is intrinsically tied to a culture and environment that reflect food expectations and habits, i.e all people in Turkey (there are many minorities) eat a lot of bread with their meals, meat is commonly lamb, pork is simply not available, lobster although available, appears seldom on tables, although mussels do, but shrimps don’t.
A few minor spelling errors don’t distract from the beauty of the book, the introductory writing in front of every segment and recipes are provided.
A beautiful book that will spark nostalgic conversations, and may even want you to book a flight to the country, if you have not yet.
If you have visited Turkey and want to remember the meals, try a few of the recipes and reminisce, or book another flight.