Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2014
I'm sure you've figured out by now if you're a regular reader of A Beautiful Little Life that I LOVE good food! When I was given the opportunity to review a new book called "International Night" by a father/daughter team, Mark and Talia Kurlansky, I jumped at the chance. Greek food, Moroccan food, Italian food - so yummy! But what about foods from Kazakhstan or Senegal? Belgium or Nicaragua?
Once a week in the Kurlansky home, Mark would spin a globe and wherever his daughter's finger landed became the theme of that Friday night's dinner. Their tradition of International Night afforded Mark an opportunity to share with his daughter, Talia--and now the readers of International Night--the recipes, stories, and insights he's collected over more than thirty years of traveling the world writing about food, culture, and history, and his charming pen-and-ink drawings, which appear throughout the book.

International Night is brimming with recipes for fifty-two special meals--appetizers, a main course, side dishes, and dessert for each--one for every week of the year. Some are old and familiar favorites - and others I've never heard of!

DON'T MISS:
Morocco: Pastilla of Pigeon (I make mine with chicken instead of pigeon)
Cuba: Mojitos!
Provence: Grilled Lamb with Herbes de Provence
Brittany: Seafood Crepes
Cornwall: Cornish Pasties (similar to these little hand pies that I've blogged about in the past)
Tanzania: Coconut Soup & Mango Cashew Pudding
New Orleans: Fruit Beignet
Ireland: Beef in Guiness
Argentina: Dulce De Leche Crepes

This book is so full of awesome recipes! If you like ethnic food you will love it!

To make the main dish featured in the Provence section, you'll need a blend of spices called Herbes de Provence. I LOVE using it when I make homemade stews and soups, but it's just as good on beef, poultry, and fish. The lavender flowers might sound odd to you, but trust me... this blend is fantastic! - See more at: http://www.abeautifullittlelife.com/2014/08/international-night-book-review-herbes.html#more
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2014
There is so much to love about this book! Curl up by the fire and read about the different countries and dishes represented here, or just get in the kitchen and start cooking! I love that along with familiar places such as Greece, Germany and Italy you also have Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Algeria, Aquitaine, Kazakhstan and French Guinea. My girls love the Cornish Pasties, and Fennel Salad from Sicily is quite lovely and simple to make. Try an entire meal from a country or your choice, or pick and choose dishes to make a truly International night! Hmmm, Spatzle from Germany followed by Hazelnut Salad from Switzerland, Pork Adobo from Philippines, Green Beans and Carrots from Haiti followed by Apple Blackberry Pie from Norway. You are only limited by your imagination--and sometimes your pocketbook for some of the more 'exotic' ingredients.

A couple of things dropped the rating of this book. Even a few photos would have been nice (an occasional line drawing of a cabbage, pineapple or other ingredient doesn't do much for me in a cookbook). Also, if you don't read the introductory portion of the book you won't know that all the recipes are configured to feed three people because that's the size of the author's family. NONE of the recipes I could find lists serving size. The author explains this away as his daughter telling him when he does math to shrink or expand a recipe he is "no fun", so he leaves that to his reader. Fine, hire someone to do it for you, then. Having recipes designed for 3 people can be pretty awkward for someone with a family of 4. We have six in our family so I can easily double, but others may have to work more to get an amount that works for them. This just feels very unprofessional to me.

Even with the drawbacks mentioned above, this is a great cookbook full of interesting food. As a homeschool mom, it's also a great tool in school. Instead of just learning about different countries from a book, why not incorporate their cuisine into your studies as well?! With this book we'll get a little extra math in when we double the recipes as well.

I received a copy of this book from Bloomsbury for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2014
What began as an eagerly anticipated Friday night ritual in the Kurlansky home took hold in a big way when bestselling author Mark was challenged one step further by daughter Talia’s random jabs at a spinning globe. Where her finger landed became what they’d cook and eat together. Once they’d gathered and tried a veritable United Nations of meals, where next but a cookbook to share their culinary travels?

With such a whimsical birth, INTERNATIONAL NIGHT was guaranteed to be far more than an attractively designed collection of recipes on paper. Many of the Kurlanskys’ more than 250 recipes (some acquired directly, others imaginatively constructed when the originals were kept “secret”) read like music for the taste buds. But the stories that introduce each gastronomic destination, prefaced by clever hints as to the place, are gems in themselves, embracing geography, politics, folklore, environment, history, culture, language, disaster --- a vivid tapestry of human life. Some places evoked memories of personally experiencing exquisite meals; others were discoveries made through careful research and a mindful respect for local values and identity.

Some of these introductory stories are rather sad, such as that of Afghanistan, whose chronic political instability and centuries-long soil exhaustion have left it with little in the way of culinary resources. Nevertheless, INTERNATIONAL NIGHT brings together a menu that would make any Afghan proud. Other stories, such as Québec, warm the heart (especially of this Canadian) with a thoughtful reminiscence of the province’s rich and seminal history in relation to the rest of our British-dominated national culture. And, thank goodness, the Kurlanskys chose something other than the ubiquitous poutine to honor “la belle province.”

It would be easy, and lengthy, to go on describing the amazing variety and wonderfully exotic sequence of 52 places that emerge every few pages in INTERNATIONAL NIGHT. In fact, I’m glad that the emphasis is on places rather than countries. While some nations do comprise a distinct cuisine within their borders, Mark and Talia Kurlansky recognize the importance of regions where the land and people have independently created their own societies of food and fellowship. It just goes to show that when a seasoned and accomplished writer-traveler joins forces with a voracious grade-eight mind, something memorably different happens.

The very best thing about INTERNATIONAL NIGHT is that its nearly 400 pages are such a great read, such a mind-opening journey, that you need never cook a single dish to derive immense enjoyment from it. And if you’re a foodie, the abundance of clear and interesting recipes, plus a comprehensive preface on cooking materials and preparation, will keep you going for a long and tasty time. This win-win volume is a stroke of genius that belongs in every family.

My only dilemma now is this: Do I read some more, or go and cook something from a place I’ve always wanted to visit?

Reviewed by Pauline Finch
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2014
Great idea for fun exploration of ethnic foods! I sent this to my daughter to use with her two girls who are living overseas and they love it. My daughter loves cook books and this one is perfect for their family and an exciting book of ideas. She said she read the whole book as soon as she got it and has lots of plans for it! Some of the ingredients may be difficult to find depending on where you are, but substitutes are mentioned and not a deal killer for a good meal result
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
NOTE: I received this book for free from Bloomsbury Publishing for this review.

International Night: A Father and Daughter Cook Their Way Around the World *Including More than 250 Recipes* (by Mark and Talia Kurlansky) tells the tale of their “international night” dinners. Once a week Mark’s daughter Talia would point to a random spot on a globe and the family would research and then cook an evening’s meal in keeping with the location she chose. The book is organized by ‘night’ (Philippines Night, Provence Night, Kazakhstan Night, Egypt night, Senegal Night, Sri Lanka Night, Austria Night, etc.). Included are some combination of appetizers/breads, main course, drink, dessert. Mark Kurlansky is an accomplished food writer who has traveled extensively.

I wouldn’t say this is a standout cookbook; some of the recipes wowed us, but an equal number didn’t. Our favorite recipe so far is the Breton Cake for Brittany Night: it came out like a cross between shortbread and a rum cake. Very difficult to stop eating once you get started! A good counterexample is the Milawi (a semolina bread) from the Algeria Night. The recipe is clearly expected to create a dough that can be shaped, but ours came out as thin pancake batter. Mind you, it cooked well as large pancakes, tasting much like cake-shaped pasta (due to the semolina). It goes very well with any kind of sauce that it can be dipped in. The lamb & chickpea meatballs tasted more of breadcrumbs than they did of either lamb or chickpea, which was disappointing.

Kurlansky provides interesting introductory notes for each night’s section, including notes about which recipes he has taken a bit of license with. He tried to strike a balance between making things his family would really enjoy vs. authenticity in some cases. Note that there are no photos of completed recipes. The layout is clean and clear, with ingredients nicely set off from directions Occasionally the steps would have been easier to follow if they were broken down into smaller paragraphs. It’s assumed that the reader will have a stand mixer and a food processor, although you might be able to get away with a hand mixer in places.

Appetizers include Ahi Poke (Hawaii), Grilled Sardines (Aquitane), Harira (Morocco), and Piaz Pakode–a type of battered onion ring (India). Main courses range from Mongolian Hot Pot (Mongolian, obviously) to Steak and Aji Asado (Argentina), Beef Stroganoff (Russia), and Squid Curry (Sri Lanka). Desserts: Linzertorte (Austria), Rose Water Sherbet (Turkey), Guava Pastry (Cuba). I wouldn’t make everything we tried a second time, but there were definitely some winners. And I’m really looking forward to trying more recipes from additional source locations!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
"International Night" must have been great fun for the father and daughter who selected the countries and recipes prepared for weekly family meals but not so for this reader. Many recipes are laden with a disproportionate amount of butter and cream as the artery clogging Irish Colcannon. It was curious that the author made a statement about his preference for vegetarian Borscht citing the kosher stricture of not mixing meat and dairy, then immediately followed with a recipe for Beef Stroganoff that incorporates beef and sour cream in the same dish in the chapter on Russia night. I avidly devour memoir styled cookbooks but lost interest in this one quickly and was disappointed in the menu and recipes.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on June 15, 2015
Apparently nobody edited this book. The first recipe we tried turned into a pile of sick looking bread crumbs over rice. The recipe called for 1 cup of bread crumbs which seemed odd but we followed it since we'd never cooked the dish before. It was the Koftad Nakhod, a chickpea meatball. The recipe called for 6 oz of ground lamb, 2 cups of canned chickpeas and a cup of breadcrumbs. Mix together and simmer in chicken stock for 30 minutes. When you're done, you've got something that looks completely inedible....and it is. So I looked up several recipes for this dish and found that the proportions compared to every recipe I could find were way off. They called for 1 1/2 to 2 lbs of ground lamb, one cup of dried chick peas, and 1 TABLESPOON of bread crumbs, rather than 1 cup. I'll try this one again and see what happens. For now, I'm a little leery of following anything from this book
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2014
This is a Christmas gift for my youngest son, and his oldest daughter, who both love to cook and enjoy trying new things. Leafing through it, I'm sure they will both enjoy it - the recipes, and also the articles that accompany each ' night'.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on May 27, 2015
Good cook book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2015
Granddaughter loved it
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Salt: A World History
Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky (Paperback - January 28, 2003)
$10.78

The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell
The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell by Mark Kurlansky (Paperback - January 9, 2007)
$11.33

The Basque History of the World: The Story of a Nation
The Basque History of the World: The Story of a Nation by Mark Kurlansky (Paperback - February 1, 2001)
$13.24
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.