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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a very comprehensive, great, informative book but you need to manage your expectations to avoid disappointment., 14 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Sherbet and Spice: The Complete Story of Turkish Sweets and Desserts (Hardcover)
Unless you are Turkish or have spent a lot of time in that country, you might be forgiven for not really knowing much about Turkish sweets and deserts, and perhaps assume that "Turkish Delight" is a prime example of a Turkish delicacy. This book will jump to your aid.

This is a fairly thick mixture of recipe book and reference book, presenting to the reader the complete history of Turkish sweets and desserts. The book's publicity information claims that it is the first-ever study of Turkish confectionery and examines the role that food plays within the country's social, political and religious life. Oh, and you get over 70 authentic recipes as well.

Certainly the comprehensiveness of this book cannot be in doubt. It feels that everything has been thought of (perhaps, with the exclusion of lots of full-colour photographs). From a glossary and a guide to pronouncing certain Turkish characters to a VERY comprehensive series of notes and a detailed bibliography, readers of all levels are likely to be accommodated here. And at a great price too. Clearly for many the recipes, rather than the history and social significances might be key. For others they might only ever focus on book learning and never try one recipe. Maybe some will do both?

To be fair, this is not your usual cookbook. It is more academically-minded and the recipes are presented perhaps as an afterthought or more as an example to back up the rest of the information, rather than being first and foremost a cookbook with a bit of supporting information thrown in for good measure. It would be wrong to suggest that the book is misleading or attempting to deceive, but the prospective reader should be aware that this is more reference work than cookbook. It might have been nice if the book could have been more modularly designed so separate the recipes from the deep reference material, making it even more appealing and accessible to both audiences, without compromising things. It is a shame if prospective readers may sideline this book due to it being a bit too "text heavy".

As it is, you might need to be a bit more of a dedicated Turkophile to get the most out of this book. It is not a book you would just pick up to add another country to your recipe book collection. It is important not to get the wrong impression from this review. This is a very comprehensive, great, informative book but you need to manage your expectations to avoid disappointment. If this book is what you are expecting then you will not be disappointed. The only real disappointment is if you buy this foremost as a recipe book and a means to just get cooking Turkish recipes, perhaps inspired by a holiday or a restaurant visit. This would not be a beginner's book for you in that case.
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