Monday, June 2, 2014

International Night: A Father and Daughter Cook Their Way Around the World *Including More than 250 Recipes* by Mark Kurlansky, Talia Kurlansky

International Night by Mark Kurlansky3.5 Stars

I love the whole idea of this cookbook. A journalist father and his daughter play "spin the globe" and wherever the finger lands they cook up a four course meal from that country. The father has been to beau-coup countries in his line of work and has experienced food and culture in a very grass roots way, through jungle treks amidst gorilla warfare to train journeys across Russia. So I was pretty excited to read this.

But why...WHY...WHY  do you sit down to compile a chunkster of a world recipe book and not even bring your camera??? Where are the pictures of the dishes?? Seriously, what a disappointment!

Ok, lets be fair. There are sketches. But not of meals. You'll find sketches of things like chili peppers, squid, calaloo but no dishes or locations. Such a missed opportunity. Because this book is more than a recipe book. It is a travelogue and I loved that. At the beginning of each recipe, the author shares his experiences visiting the country, why he was there, the food he ate, a little bit of history etc.The experience would have felt more complete with pictures. Just sayin'.

On to the recipes themselves. There's a lot of them (at least four dishes per 52 countries so over 200 recipes). Some sounded intriguing and I bookmarked them for reference. Others, I found a little simplistic but I do understand that that is what most people will want so they can recreate "something similar" at home. Personally, I'm into ethnic cooking in a fairly large way so I was most interested in the sections involving India, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia; places of strong flavors and contrasts. But the recipe choices were pretty bland for those areas.

Overall, an interesting cookbook. One I enjoyed reading.

* I received a free ebook from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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