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Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean Hardcover – May 2, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; First Edition edition (May 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060792280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060792282
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Only a brilliant chef like Ana could have created such a warm and evocative cookbook filled with enticing recipes.” (Clifford A. Wright, author of the James Beard Cookbook of the Year A Mediterranean Feast)

“This book beautifully codifies the marvelous dishes I’ve eaten at Oleana, all of which bear her special inventive touch.” (Paula Wolfert, author of The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean)

“A thousand and one nights worth of cooking. . . . Sortun’s recipes are as seamless as her food.” (Los Angeles Times)

About the Author

Ana Sortun was named the “Best Chef: Northeast” at the 2005 James Beard Awards for her restaurant, Oleana, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which she opened in 2001. Known for unique Arabic-Mediterranean food, Oleana has received much local and national praise. Sortun holds a degree from Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris. She lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts, with her husband and daughter.


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Customer Reviews

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Just make sure you make advance reservations!
Writegirl18
I highly recommend this to anyone who likes Mediterranean food.
Flygirl
Her instructions are very clear and easy to follow.
T. Brooks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 78 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on August 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`Spice, Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean' by New England chef, Ana Sortum is, behind its façade of being a text on spices and herbs, is really a restaurant cookbook, but done in such an imaginative way that one immediately forgives this little subterfuge. All the recipes are from Ms. Sortum's current restaurant, Oleana or from her previous postings, before starting out on her own and almost immediately winning the James Beard award for best chef in the Northeast.

One thing which immediately impresses me about Ms. Sortum, even before reading any recipes, is that she gives ample acknowledgments to four of the leading writers on Mediterranean cuisine, Paula Wolfert, Nancy Harmon Jenkins, Clifford Wright, and Claudia Roden. She has amply repaid all her gratitude to these sages by giving us a book whereby the casual foodie can really appreciate important tastes of the Eastern Mediterranean without wading through, for example, Clifford Wright's monumental study of Mediterranean cuisine.

A second thing which impresses me early in my reading is that the author, assisted by ghost writer Nicole Chaison, cites Internet sources for important ingredients directly in the text, rather than having you flip to the back of the book. A minor note worth pointing out is that this is the first cookbook in which I have seen our beloved [...] as a source for cited foodstuffs.

A last bit of ephemera to note is that this is an exceptionally well designed book. While there are few color photographs, the warm tans and browns of the fonts, paper, and sidebars, with the old-fashioned ornamentation is the kind of care I usually see from only from Alfred A. Knopf cookbooks. Congrats to Harper Collins for the great window dressing which makes reading the book just a bit more satisfying.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By An avid reader on June 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What an amazing, generous book. This is a text dense book that manages to be clear and informative but never boring. I had heard that the recipes were complicated, but this is not true unless you are very new to cooking or don't want to purchase a few simple spices. There are many, many great vegetarian recipes to go along with a fine and unusual variety of meat and seafood ones. I love the spice mixtures, they are perfectly balanced, immensely flavorful and come with many helpful suggestions for their use. I haven't tried to make my own string cheese - yet - but I'm grateful for the recipe. I can't recommend this book highly enough, it is one of those rare cook books that's great to read and great to work with.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Brendan P. Delany on August 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book a few months back and I have tried out a number of the dishes with great results. My personal favorite is the Lamb Steak dish. Her descriptions of the various stages and completed dishes provide just the right amount of information for all cooking afficionados. One criticism I do have is with the authors website which she promotes as a source of some of the more difficult to obtain ingredients. I have had no luck getting a response from it when I tried to order some ingredients.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Book Worm on January 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For American foodies, Middle East cooking is fraught with peril. Not only do popular specialties like hummus, baba ganoush, and falafel represent stereotypical ikons of this huge region. But as one becomes familiar with more sophisticated choices, it's easy to dismiss them because of: 1. hard to get ingredients 2. time consuming steps for dishes like stuffed vine leaves, moussaka, Persian rice, etc.
Now comes Ana Sortun. She has demystified the exotic herbs and spices that define the Levantine palate by describing how she discovered the real thing in Turkey and/or other eastern Mediterranean lands.
She should know because her Cambridge, Mass restaurant Oleana offers most every item featured in this handsome treasury of easy-to-follow, step by step recipes. True to its eponymous title, the book is organized by spices, i.e. the predominant seeds, leaves, and blossoms that flavor her signature dishes. It also includes a comprehensive list of web sites and shops that carry admittedly exotic or hard to get ingredients.
One reason for her success is the descriptive passages preceding each recipe. She tells stories of where she encountered the ingredients. She describes the (mostly) women and men who introduced them to her. Then she shows how she and her talented restaurant staff (everyone is credited, including her farmer husband) have adapted traditional recipes for the modern palate. This approach is more than nouveau, more than fusion. It takes tradition, and then expands on it with surprising results. Thus, hummus the old way morphs into a delectable parsnip creation, and falafel becomes a crunchy spinach/chick pea marriage.
But Sortun doesn't stop there. Because she has trained in France, she shares secrets about that country's cuisine.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Judith L. Taylor on February 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I happen to live down the street from the chef/author's little cafe (as opposed to her restaurant). This area is heavily populated by folks of greek and armenian descent so the ingredients are readily available. I have tried a number of receipes-all have turned out fabulously. Easy to follow , mildly complicated but the ingredients are key. Would recommend to anyone that's adventurous and looking for a new food experience. My 88 year old Armenian adopted grandmother LOVED this book and loved our Christmas Eve dinner- four courses, all from this book (and she is and always has been a VERY tough person to please...makes EVERYTHING from scratch!).
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