Winner, IACP Cookbook Award for Culinary Travel (2013)
Naomi Duguid's heralded cookbooks have always transcended the category to become "something larger and more important" ( Los Angeles Times ). Each in its own way is "a breakthrough book .Read more...
Winner, IACP Cookbook Award for Culinary Travel (2013)
Naomi Duguid's heralded cookbooks have always transcended the category to become "something larger and more important" (Los Angeles Times). Each in its own way is "a breakthrough book . . . a major contribution" (The New York Times). And as Burma opens up after a half century of seclusion, who better than Duguid--the esteemed author of Hot Sour Salty Sweet--to introduce the country and its food and flavors to the West.
Located at the crossroads between China, India, and the nations of Southeast Asia, Burma has long been a land that absorbed outside influences into its everyday life, from the Buddhist religion to foodstuffs like the potato. In the process, the people of the country now known as Myanmar have developed a rich, complex cuisine that mekes inventive use of easily available ingredients to create exciting flavor combinations.
Salads are one of the best entry points into the glories of this cuisine, with sparkling flavors--crispy fried shallots, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, a dash of garlic oil, a pinch of turmeric, some crunchy roast peanuts--balanced with a light hand. The salad tradition is flexible; Burmese cooks transform all kinds of foods into salads, from chicken and roasted eggplant to spinach and tomato. And the enticing Tea-Leaf Salad is a signature dish in central Burma and in the eastern hills that are home to the Shan people.
Mohinga, a delicious blend of rice noodles and fish broth, adds up to comfort food at its best. Wherever you go in Burma, you get a slightly different version because, as Duguid explains, each region layers its own touches into the dish.
Tasty sauces, chutneys, and relishes--essential elements of Burmese cuisine--will become mainstays in your kitchen, as will a chicken roasted with potatoes, turmeric, and lemongrass; a seafood noodle stir-fry with shrimp and mussels; Shan khaut swei, an astonishing noodle dish made with pea tendrils and pork; a hearty chicken-rice soup seasoned with ginger and soy sauce; and a breathtakingly simple dessert composed of just sticky rice, coconut, and palm sugar.
Interspersed throughout the 125 recipes are intriguing tales from the author's many trips to this fascinating but little-known land. One such captivating essay shows how Burmese women adorn themselves with thanaka, a white paste used to protect and decorate the skin. Buddhism is a central fact of Burmese life: we meet barefoot monks on their morning quest for alms, as well as nuns with shaved heads; and Duguid takes us on tours of Shwedagon, the amazingly grand temple complex on a hill in Rangoon, the former capital. She takes boats up Burma's huge rivers, highways to places inaccessible by road; spends time in village markets and home kitchens; and takes us to the farthest reaches of the country, along the way introducing us to the fascinating people she encounters on her travels.
The best way to learn about an unfamiliar culture is through its food, and in Burma: Rivers of Flavor, readers will be transfixed by the splendors of an ancient and wonderful country, untouched by the outside world for generations, whose simple recipes delight and satisfy and whose people are among the most gracious on earth.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-09-17
- Reviewer: Staff
Duguid’s latest culinary immersion unveils food customs from Burma (Myanmar) where more than a century of civil unrest and decades of seclusion hid a remarkably enduring culinary tradition. Duguid (Toronto-based author of award winning Flatbread and Flavors and Hot Sour Salty Sweet) opens a doorway into modern Myanmar life now characterized by budding optimism and increased accessibility. As a culinary educator in Thailand for 30 years, Duguid eventually traveled to neighboring Burma. In this collection of 125 recipes, she creates a treasury of Burma’s cuisine where Asian, Indian, and Western colonial culture intersect. There is information on how to plan a Burmese meal and how to stock a Burmese pantry with basics: turmeric, shallots, dried shrimp powder; ginger, lime, lemongrass, chile pastes, and curries make for a vibrant, aromatic cuisine. Silky Shan soup, which yields a chickpea-thickened breakfast comfort food, fish stew with aromatics, and coconut sauce noodles with chicken are characteristic “meal-in-a-bowl” Burmese fare. Duguid’s portrait of Burma’s rich food heritage contains vivid glimpses of the people who create it along with cultural insight and a dash of travel advice. It transports readers to an imaginary world in their own kitchens. A colorful immersion into the daily market and table of the Burmese people, this volume is an invitation to celebrate the Burmese people and their transformation. (Oct.)
An international trifecta
Though we’ve become a global village, we still eat and cook in wonderfully diverse ways. Now three new, beautifully illustrated cookbooks take us on eye-opening, mouthwatering culinary journeys.
Maricel E. Presilla’s Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, with more than 500 recipes that roam through the rich gastronomic landscapes of Latin America from Mexico to the tip of Argentina, is a feast and a fiesta. As you cook your way through adobos, sofritos, empanadas, tangy ceviches, “big” soups and little snacks, meat and poultry (grilled, roasted and braised), salads, condiments and dulces, you’ll discover how the fusion of native and Iberian cooking customs has made la cocina Latina so deliciously complex.
When it comes to conjuring up the splendors—edible and otherwise—of exotic places, nobody does it better than Naomi Duguid. With Burma: Rivers of Flavor, she opens up the culinary culture of a country that’s long been a crossroads for traders and travelers from China, India and all of Southeast Asia. A celebration of place, people and traditional foodways in vibrant recipes, dazzling photographs and stories that reveal the heart of a land, Burma is a must, and a perfect gift, for cooks and travelers—armchair or actual.
Leanne Kitchen (great name for a food writer!) takes on a varied, venerable cuisine in Turkey. With more than 100 recipes, and photographs that you’ll want to bite into, she offers an elegant cook’s tour of Turkey’s seven geographic regions, where Mediterranean, Slavic and Middle Eastern influences mingle and where courtly Ottoman dishes share the Turkish table with more humble, hearty peasant fare.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
Whether you’ve cooked a ton of turkeys or are facing your first—Do Not Proceed without Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well, Sam Sifton’s charming, absolutely essential manual. Sifton, a former New York Times restaurant critic, spent many Thanksgiving Days as a guardian angel, answering the newspaper’s Thanksgiving help line, saving the desperate from all sorts of disasters. He not only knows his stuff (and stuffing), he loves and honors the tradition, its promise and its joyful indulgence. But he’s strict about the rules: You will make turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce (a non-negotiable trio), offer more than one starch, more than one appropriate-to-the-season veg and classic desserts (not chocolate, not experimental), no salad, no appetizers, save a few briny oysters. Sifton says, “Thanksgiving ought to be the best holiday of the year,” and he gives the guidance, the indispensable recipes and the moral support you need to cook a great holiday feast (leftovers included) and not lose your mind!