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Classical Turkish Cooking: Traditional Turkish Food for the American Kitchen Paperback – April 7, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks (April 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060931639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060931636
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This compendium of Turkish fare does much to advance Algar's ( The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking ) theory that "it is the imaginative combination of carefully cooked ingredients, however humble they may be, that creates good taste." While her writing is at times stiltingly formal, the recipes are anything but. Called traditional, they're in fact truly contemporary: full in flavor, redolent of fresh herbs and crushed spices and filled with healthful vegetables and grains. At their best, these dishes successfully combine present-day foodstuffs and concepts with classic Turkish antecedents, as seen in roasted eggplant and chili salad, mussel brochettes with walnut taratorsic and zucchini cakes with green onions, cheese, and herbs. Also featured are delicious Turkish condiments--e.g., sun-cooked tomato paste and sun-cooked purple plum marmelade--as well as desserts (poached dried figs stuffed with walnuts; chilled summer fruit in rose petal-infused syrup). Mail-order ingredient sources would have broadened the book's appeal. Algar is the Andrew Mellon Lecturer in Turkish at the University of California at Berkeley.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

An excellent introduction to a relatively unknown cuisine. The Turkish culinary tradition is of course related to other Mideastern cultures, but such dishes as a flavorful Chicken in Paprika-Laced Walnut Sauce or an assertive Smoked Eggplant Salad with Jalapenos demonstrate the diversity and uniqueness of the food. Algar, a Berkeley professor and food writer, provides knowledgeable commentary on the recipes, cuisine, and country, and few of the dishes require exotic ingredients or techniques. For most collections.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Great book for a beginner in Turkish Cuisine!
T. Rollins
I appreciate the author's sharing of cultural influences, as well as a deep understanding of the flavors and foods of Turkey.
T. Stanbury
While I certainly haven't examined the entire gamut of available cookbooks, this certainly was the best I have run across.
T. C. Haug

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 102 people found the following review helpful By jgokmen@hotmail.com on December 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Let me just tell you how good this cookbook is.... When I met the man who would later become my husband, I wanted to impress him by preparing some food from his country. I got this book from the library (and later bought it). I had NO IDEA what Turkish food looked like, tasted like, NOTHING. Zero. I flipped through this book and asked him what he liked. He picked out some foods that he had really been missing since his move to the US. These items also happen to be about the most difficult to make--things most people in Turkey don't make at home anymore because they are easier to buy ready made...I made Baked Manti, Simit (Turkish bagels), and Asure the first night...and apparently I made them so well that the whole Turkish community in my town started showing up for our dinner parties for a taste of home. If a person who had no idea of the cuisine could make food THAT authentic on the first try, then the cookbook MUST be excellent. I have sinced moved to Turkey and after 4 years here, it is still my favorite cookbook above all the others I have.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on February 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
`Classical Turkish Cooking' by Ayla Algar is a great exemplar of what a cookbook describing an important national cuisine should be, if there are few or no other books on the subject in English. At the outset, it is important to point out that the author makes an excellent case for the historical fact that Turkish cuisine, based on a long history of cuisine from the Ottoman empire, which inherited much from the equally important Persian / Iranian cuisine, is a truly interesting food culture, distinctive in enough different ways from the general Eastern Mediterranean milieu to make it worthy of study and emulation.

The Turkish / Ottoman cuisine is in every way a confirmation of the thesis stated most firmly by Paula Wolfert in `Cous Cous and Other Good Food from Morocco' that one of the four requirements for the creation of an important, interesting cuisine is the presence of a sizable nobility and wealthy court in which chefs are well paid to create interesting dishes for the court and for entertaining diplomats to the court. Conspicuous consumption was not invented in the United States. Ms. Algar does us a great service by presenting a very nice thumbnail sketch of the history of the Turkish people who migrated to Asia Minor from central Asia and, on the way, picked up lots of culinary influences from the Iranians in the centuries following the rise of Islam throughout central Asia and the Middle East. Happily, unlike several other historical sketches I have seen recently in books on purportedly important cuisines, Ms. Algar ties her story in with actual culinary information, including linguistic and historical evidence for the origins of many different culinary trends in Turkey. I will not pretend to recount all of this.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is a well laid-out guide to Turkish food. MS. Algar provides historic detail, method for unfamiliar techniques, and a good mix of recipes from savory to sweet that have a distinctive Turkish touch. It is a cookbook you can actually sit down and read. While she does not give the technical detail Julia Child brings to her books, this book is not about being a chef, it is about introducing Turkish foods into your home, and is an excellent reference. It also provides recipes for those things you may not find easily available - just how do you make rose water if you can't find it? There is a recipe! I want a copy for my kitchen library, and you might too.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Fevzi Konduk on May 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It's a nice book. But there are no pictures in it and for persons that really don't know how it looks, there gone. Im a Turk myself and that doesn't really bother me. I bought this book cause I really can't cook and I don't eat anything else than turkish food. One could say that this is my attempt of learning how to cook and this book has been essensial in that area. If you want lots of turkish food in a single book then this is the book for you..
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By P. Clark on February 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is quite accurate and most recipes are designed for those who don't know the ingredients and techniques well. But because of two reasons I don't use this Turkish cookbook often (I have another favorite): First is the lay out. Recipes are not very easy to follow while cooking and you don't know what the outcome would look like (or supposed to look like) since there are no pictures. Second is the lack of detailed explanations. It is definitely not for dummies.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By yum on August 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This cookbook leaves a lot to desired. It leaves out some of the most common variations on Turkish food and is a lot more historical information than necessary. It is an ode to the history of turkish cuisine but is not that useful in the cooking aspect of modern turkish favorites. It lacks basic cooking methods and does not inform people how things are eaten or accompanied.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JSS on April 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am American and my husband is from Turkey, so I wanted to get some good books on how to cook him the foods from his childhood. These had to be authentic...no mediocre recipes would suffice. I reach for this book all the time and have marked a great number of recipes because I turn to them time and again. There hasn't been a single one I've tried that my husband hasn't loved, which is all the proof I need! Some criticisms are that the book has no pictures, which would help to visualize how the finished dish should look, and there are some recipe omissions that even I as a layperson would have liked to see. All in all though, one of the best Turkish cookbooks around.
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