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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Biography of Authentic Persian Cuisine., 8 Sept. 2006
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This review is from: The Persian Kitchen: Home Cooking from the Middle East (Hardcover)
'the Persian kitchen' by Neda Afrashi has relatively few recipes in total, but the book is more than just a simple collection of recipes.

The recipes themselves are split into sections on SIDE DISHES (BORANI, DOLMEH, KUKU & TORSHI), THICK SOUPS (ASH), RICE DISHES (BERENJ, CHELO, KATEH & POLO), BRAISED DISHES (KHORESH, KHORAK & ABGUSHT), GRILLED AND FRIED MEAT DISHES (KEBAB & KUFTEH), REGIONAL SPECIALITIES AND SAFAVID CUISINE, SWEETS AND DRINKS (SHRINI VA NUSHABEH).

But there are also sections on: an introduction to PERSIAN COOKERY ~ which is a 26 page in-depth biography of Persian cooking, covering all the variety of aspects of infuences on (trade, aristocratic, peasant & nomadic influences, religious background, medical background), ingrediants in ('The Character of Ingrediants'), and cultural aspects of Persian cookery (Slow Food, Table Manners and Hospitality), fully illustrated excerpts of PERSIAN LITERATURE related to food, for example 'Drakhti-i Asurig : The Parthian Fable of the Date-palm and the Goat', where the date palm and the goat argue their relative advantages to man, a description of NORUZ ~ the New Year's festival, the most important festival in the Persian calender, an INGREDIANTS A TO Z which includes medicinal properties of foods, and a Persian-English Glossary.

The book is also jam packed full of full colour pages of stunning photography, both of the dishes themselves (the majority of dishes have a full colour page photograph of the finnished dish), and of the landscape and people of Persia (many double paged spreads).

My only complaint is the shortage of recipes. I plan to investigate Claudia Roden's books further to add to this collection (her new book 'Arabesque' covers the food of Turkey, Lebanon and Morrocco, where as her last book 'Tamarind and Saffron' covers a wider geographical area, and her original book 'The Book of Middle Eastern Cooking' (now in a new extended version) has good reviews and would all complement the recipes found here in 'the Persian kitchen'). A search for Persian cooking on Amazon came up with some interesting examples of books that may be worth exploring.

Unfortunately, in my copy of the book, the Biblography section listed in the contents page does not exist!

I have given this book 'five' stars, because although you may want an even more in-depth exploration of the cultural and historical history and influences, or (particularly) a more extended selection of recipes, this is none the less a beautiful book with a very authentic Persian feel to it.
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Location: Cambridge, U.K.

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