Covid-19 has grounded the world, but new cookbooks provide sustenance for the travel-hungry.
“We’re separated from the people we love and the places we go,” says Leyla Moushabeck, cookbook editor at Interlink, “and there’s a sense of global loss that comes with that.” Interlink, an independent family- and immigrant-owned-and-run house whose cookbooks often spotlight underrepresented cuisines, is one of several presses releasing wanderlust-stoking cookbooks this season. Such titles, Moushabeck adds, offer a way of “celebrating at home through food and recognizing places that are farther away.”
Traversing four continents and focusing on cuisines that may be new to readers, these books help home cooks travel without leaving their stoves.
The Arabesque Table
The author of The Palestinian Table shares 130 contemporary recipes from across the Arab word. The dishes—salads, mains, sides, desserts—are organized by primary ingredients used widely in Arab cuisines, with chapters such as “Za’atar + Sumac” and “Pomegranates + Lemons.”
Dobson draws on Australia’s distinct flora and fauna, as well as the foodways of its diverse population—indigenous peoples, settlers, immigrants—in this book of 350 recipes, with dishes such as Thai kangaroo salad, honey prawns, and pavlova. The title is the first in Phaidon’s line of international cookbooks to spotlight a cuisine from the Southern Hemisphere.
Villegas offers 100 recipes for popular Colombian dishes, such as arepas and empanadas, as well as recipes that she describes as “Colombian-ish,” including one for a spicy papaya and charred shrimp gazpacho.
This 68-recipe book by Cypriot-Canadian author Loucas, a contributor to Taste magazine in Cyprus, highlights the island’s many cultural influences and, in particular, its blending of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors and ingredients. In addition to offering recipes for Cypriot souvlaki and Halloumi mini bundt cake, Loucas also elucidates the various uses of regional herbs (mint, basil) and spices (cloves, mastic).
Haigh, a London-based Nyonya Singaporean chef, recreates popular Southeast Asian dishes using ingredients easily sourced in the West. Street food favorites, such as nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice) and chili crab, are presented alongside miso apple pie and other family recipes.
Portuguese Home Cooking
Ortins, a child of Portuguese immigrants, shares recipes and culinary techniques she inherited from her father, as well as stories and traditions attached to her ancestral foods. Included are recipes for breads and desserts, such as papo-secos (crusty rolls) and pudim flan (flan pudding), for which Portugal is known.
This cookbook centers on the cuisines of the eastern Mediterranean—Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey—and addresses how global forces such as trade, colonization, and immigration shape local foodways. The book features recipes for healthy, seasonal dishes, such as pumpkin and cardamom soup, as well as celebratory dessert recipes, including citrus cake.
Atassi, born in Homs, Syria, and now living in Amsterdam, honors the culture and cuisine of Syria before the war. Each chapter, featuring a generous personal narrative and family photographs, centers on a meaningful family celebration, such as “Weekend Breakfast in My Grandmother’s Garden” and “The Ramadan Table.” PW said readers “with an interest in Syrian cuisine couldn’t hope for a better starting point.”