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The Melting Pot: Balkan Food and Cookery [Hardcover]

Maria Kaneva-Johnson

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Book Description

Oct 1994
The author, a Bulgarian artist who has been resident in Britain for the last 30 years, summarizes all she has learned of the food and cooking of her homeland and neighbouring countries. Three hundred recipes form the heart of the book and, by means of the region's cookery, some of the complex strands of Balkan history and civilization are unravelled. Maria Kaneva-Johnson has worked on cookery projects such as "The `Sunday Times' Guide to the World's Best Food" and "Robert Carrier's Kitchen".

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In patient detail she shows how influence after influence has been piled on, including pre-classical Greek, Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, southern Slav, Russian-Ukrainian, here and there Italian or Austro-Hungarian and - most inescapably of all - Ottoman Turkish. The final complex of Balkan cuisine, embracing yogurt, risottos, shish kebab, buckwheat kasha, Viener Schnitzel, fish soups, sauerkraut and innumerable savory or sweet variants of the thin 'leaf pastry' brought by the Turks, resembles not so much a melting pot as the contents of some enormous many-chambered cellar added to under partly continuous and partly shifting ownerships for at least the last 5,000 years. -- Los Angeles Times, October 7 1998

Maria Kaneva-Johnson admirably details the cooking and eating in that part of the world and is a fascinating insight. -- Nigel Slater, The Observer, June 30 1996

Stunningly polymathic. -- Wall Street Journal, January 28 1997

This thorough, detailed and unique book works wonderfully well on several levels. The recipes are accessible, wholesome, appealing, and not something we have seen before -- Hampstead & Highgate Gazette, December 6 1996

From the Publisher

This book won the Langhe Ceretto Prize 1997 for the best European recipe book and it was short-listed for the Andr Simon Memorial Prize 1996.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and timely summary of a regional cuisine. 2 May 1999
By Wayne Scott - Published on Amazon.com
This book is very timely since the Balkans are on every front page at this time. The author has done a great job of tracing the complex roots of Balkan cuisine and the complex roots of Balkan politics. The book is more than a set of recipes, although the recipes are exellent. It is a good read for anyone who is interested in the history of cooking and the history of a complicated region of the world.
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