In her first book, Guardian Cook editor Holland salutes classic dishes from a few dozen different countries.
Much more than a cookbook, this hybrid narrative combines recipes, pantry lists, kitchen essentials, literary references, history, geography, and personal reflections on 40 culinary traditions around the globe. Holland hopes to stimulate readers’ sensory curiosity and enliven their taste buds, and her book serves as a starting point for learning about the ingredients, flavors, and highlights of various cuisines, in addition to common recipes from each country or region—e.g., tapenade from Provence, cottage pie from the U.K., kimchi from Korea, tabbouleh from the Levant, and dulce de leche from Argentina. The author focuses on cuisines from a range of regions throughout the world—Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the Americas—and she demystifies common food-prep strategies and pantry lists. For example, if you are considering an Ethiopian dinner, you should stock up on chickpeas, peanuts, and red lentils. If you’re thinking of serving guests an Iranian meal, you will need rose water, saffron, yogurt, dried limes, cumin, and kidney beans. Holland introduces each country or region with an essay explaining how culture, history, and politics have combined to make each place and its foods unique. Weaving in her personal “culinary interests and experiences” from her travels and encounters with “talented chefs, food experts and writers, from whom I’ve taken inspiration and practical tips in equal measure,” the author delivers consistently absorbing reading. Throughout, literary references abound. Holland begins each section with a quote from a writer identified in some way with the country, adding another layer of interest to the narrative. For those hungry for more tidbits, Holland includes helpful footnotes and a reading list for additional exploration.
A culinary adventure that delights on many levels and leaves readers hungering for more.