Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-06-13
- Reviewer: Staff
Essayist Eden and food writer Ford document the culinary contributions from Tajiks, Russians, Turks, Jews, Koreans, Caucasians, and Uzbecks who have settled in Samarkand, creating one of the world's most varied cuisines. Samarkand, a stopping point along the Silk Road, is located in the valley along Uzbekistan's Zerafshan river. It has hosted travelers from all over the central Asia region for centuries. This eye-opening collection of 100 dishes includes Koryo spicy carrots, a nod to Korean kimchi; Turkish beef shashlik kebabs with a tahini and pistachio sauce; roasted peaches with marzipan and rose syrup from the Caucasus; a Tajik bread salad that's a cross between a fattoush and a Greek salad; and the impressive "Buttered Rice Under a Shah's Crown," a variation of the Uzbekian rice pilaf standard known as plov in which chestnuts, rice, raisins, saffron, and apricots are encased in a layer of lavash and baked. Regional, flavorful ingredients such as pomegranates (used in spiced Afghani beef patties or a vodka sorbet), saffron, and rice serve as an undercurrent connecting the cuisines in unpredictable ways. The book's artfully curated recipes complement each one another, and Eden's essays help bind the feasts, flavors, and colors even more closely. Though readers may never find themselves traversing the Silk Road, this is a terrific way to replicate a key part of that journey. (June)