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Gypsy Feast: Recipes and Culinary Traditions of the Romany People (Hippocrene Cookbook Library) Hardcover – April, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Carol Wilson is a food and cookery writer, cookery consultant, and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. She contributes to a wide variety of publications in Great Britain, Ireland, the United States, and Australia, including The London Illustrated News, Food and Wine, and Gastronomica. She is also author of several cookbooks featuring traditional British recipes. Wilson lives with her husband in Heswall in northwest England.
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Product Details

  • Series: Hippocrene Cookbook Library
  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Hippocrene Books (April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0781810272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0781810272
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Reviewer on November 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Romany are a fascinating people and the author provides some interesting information on their culture and history. The problem is with the culinary aspect of the book. First, the vast majority of Romany (originally from northern India) live in Eastern Europe, in countries such as Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Russia. The author, Carol Wilson, is British, and spends most of the book describing the culture and foods of the relatively small and atypical gypsy population of the British Isles. Indeed, serum protein studies suggest that many British gypsy populations (often referred to as Tinkers) are not even genetically related to Romany. In my travels in Eastern Europe, many restaurants featured dishes with "Gypsy Style" in the title. While these may or may not be authentic Romany dishes they suggest a strong influence of Romany culture in these regions. I expected a more detailed study of Eastern European cuisines. A second problem is that, from my reading of this book, there does not appear to be an actual gypsy cuisine. For example, gypsies in Spain eat Paella (a typical Spanish paella recipe is provided), gypsies in Scotland eat Cranachan (a traditional Scottish dessert), while those in Eastern Europe eat stuffed cabbages (a typical Slavic recipe is given). I was waiting to read that American gypsies eat hamburgers and french fries. Rightly or wrongly, this book suggests a complete assimilation to the culinary traditions of the countries the Romany live in. This may be factual and related to their nomadic lifestyle, but the fact that the Romany have kept so many of their other distinct cultural traditions alive leads me to wonder. In conclusion: not a bad book if you are interested in learning about the cultural traditions of British gypsies.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Judson Nirenberg on September 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The author has compiled some nice recipes and, if the reader's aim is to learn a new dish, this can be a fun addition to one's kitchen.

Unfortunately, she has very poorly researched her project and is utterly confused. She seems unable to understand the difference between the several, vaguely related cultures that are mentioned in the book. She includes as authentic Romani dishes many foods that are not a part of Romani culture across borders or not even possible for people living a more traditional Romani lifestyle to make.

If A Rom in New Jersey eats a corndog at the county fair or a Rom in Sydney, Australia goes to a sushi restaurant one afternoon, should we include a sushi recipe in a book of Romani dishes? She would if someone told her with a straight face that this is what all Roma grew up eating.

This book will not be useful to someone trying to better know Romani culture(s) or culinary norms. It will be useful for someone who wants to bake some unusual English and Balkan dishes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has a lot of background on the mysterious Romany people (Gypsies, to us "Gadje" or non-Romany folks.) The material is mostly taken from other sources I've read, primarily The Gypsies by Jan Yoors. This is obvious from the quotations used for each chapter; they are out of Yoors' monumental work on his life with a Romany kumpania. However, the food culture and recipes of this book are pretty much English Romanichal. English Rom are somewhat different than the three or four major branches found on the European continent, especially in what foods they consider acceptable. The Rom have purity laws rivaling Kashruth or Halal. For example, rabbits are eaten by the Romanical, but not by some European Rom and some European will not eat any wildlife save hedgehogs, wildlife being deemed sacred as they are free to roam. Likewise, some Rom eschew eggs and slimy foods, feeling they are "weak" due to their consistency. But eggs are featured in this book, so I can only assume English Rom have a differing opinion than others on the subject of eggs.

The recipes are equally problematical; some are an attempt to recreate the use of wild-sourced foods, others are the stews to be found in the camp cauldrons. There are some breads, puddings, but mostly, these recipes didn't look very interesting. So this is neither a cookbook or an accurate guide to the food customs of the Rom. It's somewhere in between, and for that reason, I didn't really find this a satisfying book. Read anything by Jan Yoors before you read this book. Then you decide.
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By Barb in Missouri on July 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift for my Sister in law for her Birthday as she has Gypsy Heritage in her family and she wanted to make Authentic Romany food for her family.
She loves the book and said that it is awesome and she wished she had it a long time ago.
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