International Night: A Father and Daughter Cook Their Way Around the World

Mark Kurlansky, Author, Talia Kurlansky, Author
Mark Kurlansky and Talia Kurlansky. Bloomsbury, $29 (384p) ISBN 978-1-62040-027-2
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Kurlansky, the author of Cod and Salt, approached this newest project with a specific toolset: a globe and his eighth-grade daughter. Once a week he would spin the former, and, with the poke of a finger, the latter would pick a locale at random upon which to base their Friday night dinners. The result is this collection of 52 meals, comprising more than 250 recipes. Restricting themselves in this way results in a broad survey of ingredients, but a limited choice of flavors within any one cuisine: an Indian night that consists of a single appetizer, a lamb entrée, and two vegetable sides is barely representative, and if one’s idea of a New Orleans dinner is not crab étouffée and Swiss chard, then it is best to move on to some of the book’s more obscure regional delicacies. But here, too, the younger Kurlansky’s finger of fate pointed to both hits and misses. Touching down on Tanzania results in spicy coconut soup, well-seasoned duck, and mango cashew pudding. But landing on Cornwall means sardines, crab soup, beef and rutabaga pastries, and lemon pudding. Both teens and adults will find the brief country profiles enlightening, and a bibliography of international cookbooks provides fine fodder for a family library. (Aug.)
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