The cuisines of the Caucasus, Russia, and Turkey reflect the region’s geographic position straddling Europe and Asia. Leyla Moushabeck, associate publisher and cookbook editor at Interlink, and the editor of the publisher’s forthcoming Oklava, says that such regional cookbooks can do more than deliver recipes—they can also introduce readers to the context out of which those recipes arose.
“If you want to really experience other cultures, you read their novels, you read history written by people from those countries, and you cook the food,” she says. “We try to make sure that all of our cookbooks have photography from the region, [cover] cultural traditions, and [offer] personal anecdotes. Food can unite people in that way.”
Amy Marr, associate publisher at Weldon Owen, which will publish Kaukasis this October, adds that, for such cookbooks, “authenticity is key—I want to know the recipes are anchored in a specific culture or place.” Here, we look at how Kaukasis, Oklava, and other forthcoming books showcase cuisines at a crossroads.
Istanbul and Beyond by Robyn Eckhardt (HMH/Martin, Oct.)
Eckhardt, a journalist who has written for Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure, and her husband, David Hagerman, a photographer whose work has appeared in the New York Times and Saveur, chronicle the culinary tradition of Turkey, which incorporates influences from nearby Georgia, Iraq, and Syria, among other countries. The book, which received a starred review from PW, features 150 recipes from Turkey’s home cooks, farmers, fishermen, and bakers, including Kurdish-style pot-roasted chicken and fingerprint flatbread.
Kachka by Bonnie Frumkin Morales, with Deena Prichep (Flatiron, Nov.)
This book presents recipes from Morales’s Portland, Ore., restaurant of the same name, which has received praise for its contemporary take on Russian cuisine; in 2016 Eater included it among its 38 essential U.S. restaurants. In addition to teaching readers to prepare golubtsi (cabbage rolls), pumpkin dolmas (stuffed vegetable leaves), and sour cherry vareniki (dumplings), the book also discusses the Frumkin family’s immigration to the U.S. from Belarus and the ways in which various political and cultural factors influence Russian food.
Kaukasis by Olia Hercules (Weldon Owen, Oct.)
The culinary traditions of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and other countries in the Caucasus inform the recipes in this book by Hercules, a Ukrainian-born chef whose Mamushka (2015) has sold more than 8,000 print copies, per NPD BookScan. The 100-plus dishes include plov (pilaf) with pumpkin, chestnut, and walnut, and Armenian cognac profiteroles.
Oklava by Selin Kiazim (Interlink, Jan. 2018)
Recipes for savories, sweets, and cocktails, such as koftë (Turkish meatballs), spiced rice pudding brulée, and a pomegranate-sumac martini, reflect the author’s Turkish-Cypriot heritage. The book’s title, which is also the name of the London restaurant Kiazim opened in 2015, translates to “rolling pin.”
Tasting Georgia by Carla Capalbo (Interlink, Oct.)
Food and travel writer Capalbo leads readers around the country in 70 recipes, offering instructions for dishes such as khachapuri, a popular cheese-stuffed bread. The book also looks at Georgia’s ancient winemaking tradition, which involves burying large clay vessels called qvevri.