I have been looking for a proper modern cookbook of Middle Eastern techniques and cuisine for a while now – I was born in Azerbaijan, and grew up there, and my family brought me up eating and tasting flavors of the Middle East. I am familiar with the basic spices, and our family’s favorite recipes, but they have been done so many times by now I am somewhat tired of them. I have been looking for a book that teaches me new techniques, and expands on the historical recipes using modern fusion techniques.

This is probably one of the most advanced Middle Eastern cookbooks I have seen in a while. The recipes are fresh and exciting. All of the pictures are luring me into the Old World of scents and aromas I grew up with. I remember the street food in Baku – the honey glazed baklava, the soft puffy bread, and the sweet desserts people would gift us for holidays. Those are all the familiar old-fashioned treats that I remember growing up, that I have found in one version or another on the pages of this book, updated and upgraded.

I love the way this cookbook feels and looks. Just a few days ago I have reviewed a completely different book from a different Old World recipe collection, and compared with this book – there is a night and day difference. The photos in this book are extremely inviting, and give you the sense of the food, the mood, and the sense of where the food is from – it is made from the heart, keeping in mind the traditions and customs that each particular recipe came from, and was inspired by – this mood is very well transmitted in the book – I admire the food photography used, and I know I will be borrowing quite a few techniques from the book.

The authors of the book – Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick – are very accomplished – these are not chefs from the Middle East, but rather American chefs who have received training and expertise in studying the Middle East and its cuisine and flavors, and who applied their own knowledge of American and French cuisines, and modified the recipes to add a complex modern twist. These chefs are possibly the most accomplished chefs cooking Middle Eastern cuisine in America at the moment of time, and I am so honored to be able to read their recipes, and have a chance of cooking those up, using their advice!

I recommend this book either if you are new to Middle Eastern cuisine, or if you are a seasoned Middle East flavor aficionado – you will definitely enjoy it!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


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