cover image Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania

Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania

Irina Georgescu. Interlink, $35 (224p) ISBN 978-1-62371-954-8

In this delightful debut, Romanian-born food blogger Georgescu shares the traditional recipes, and explores the various regional influences, of her homeland’s cuisine. The opening chapter of small plates includes stinging nettle fricassee with garlic flakes and pumpkin seeds (recipe names are all presented in Romanian with English subtitles) and includes tips on nettle-picking (best in March, when they first appear). Bread makers will rise to the challenge of such offerings as Romanian cornbread or Hungarian chimney cakes, which are coated in chopped walnuts. Georgescu instructs that sour broths, made tangy by the addition of fermented wheat, vinegar, or pickle brine, are commonly served before a dinner’s main course. Options include a cod-filled fish broth with rice and sour cream as well as a tarragon pork rib broth with smoked pancetta. Pancetta also turns up, along with ground pork, juniper berries, and sauerkraut, in the country’s national dish, stuffed cabbage leaves. For desserts, there’s a tasty array of baked goods, including an Easter favorite, brioche baked cheesecake, as well as a comforting noodle pudding with grilled peaches that uses honey rather than sugar. Shining a light on an underexplored food culture, this collection proves to be full of hearty and unique treats. [em](Sept.) [/em]