The Turkish Cookbook

Musa Dagdeviren. Phaidon, $49.95 (512p) ISBN 978-0-7148-7815-7
Dagdeviren, a Turkish restaurateur and chronicler of the country’s foodways, draws clear lines between culture and cuisine in this impressive, comprehensive work. “Soup heals the sick and feeds the poor,” he writes in the introduction to a chapter that includes recipes for red lentil and cracked wheat soup from Gaziantep, nettle soup from the Black Sea, and catfish potage with greengage plums from Eastern Anatolia. Each recipe is accompanied by information on the region it’s from, prep time, cooking time, and an informative headnote: lamb meatballs with cumin are known as “ladies’ thighs meatballs” due to their “voluptuous shape”; crepes filled with veal, mushrooms, and walnuts and then dredged in cornmeal and fried were once carried by hunters for sustenance; and in an Istanbul dish first prepared by Ottoman Greek tavern owners for their Muslim patrons, mussels are stuffed with rice, pine nuts, and currants. The breadth of the work is astonishing: the chapter on bread and pastries could be a book on its own, covering everything from sweet walnut crescents to tiny dumplings. Desserts (including baklava with sheep’s milk clotted cream) and beverages (a cordial made from the sweet dew that develops on oak leaves) also get their props. This an outstanding, deeply researched investigation works as both a cookbook and guide. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 03/12/2019
Release date: 04/01/2019
Genre: Lifestyle
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