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The Food of Spain and Portugal: A Regional Celebration Paperback – April 21, 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For Americans, French cuisine remains the pinnacle of culinary sophistication, and Mexican, Chinese and Italian dishes are as popular as apple pie. But outside of paella or tapas, food from the Iberian Peninsula has never quite caught on. With this UK award-winning volume, prolific author Luard hopes to change all that. This is a daunting task, considering the varied cultural traditions of these two countries, so Luard has wisely organized the recipes by region. And she admits in her introduction that her choices are "by no means comprehensive." Despite the author's modesty, readers will enjoy the fascinating array of dishes, which often reflect the history of the region in question. From the Levante, we get Moors and Christians, or black beans and white rice, to mark the return of Christianity to Spain; from Alentejano, there is the Açorda, a hearty, garlicky soup with cilantro, a reminder of when Portuguese ships plied Eastern seas. Luard has also included short essays about each region and page after page of luscious photography. But the most notable aspect of the volume is, of course, the food. Simply put: the recipes are very, very good. The Roast Loin of Pork with Potatoes is foolproof and outrageously tasty; the Vegetable Hot-Pot is a deceptively straightforward revelation; and the Eggplant Fritters are nothing short of addictive. It should be noted that this book is not for absolute beginners: measurements and timings are "deliberately inexact"; yet Luard can occasionally be exacting. (When making the Valencian Paella, your heat source "must be broad enough to allow even contact with the entire base of the pan"-a difficult proposition for most city kitchens.) But these complaints refer to just a fraction of the more than 100 recipes in this delightful book, which will be a useful and appetizing introduction to a cuisine that has been shamefully overlooked in much of the U.S.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"Elisabeth Luard is one of the best writers on Spanish food in the English language." -- Time Out, November 2004

"It's beautifully written, lavishly illustrated... packed with the fascinating food history of these countries, as well as delectable recipes." -- Tom Parker Bowles, Mail on Sunday

"Luard’s writing is elegant and her food is always excellent." -- The Times

"No cookery writer knows Spain better... a beautiful addition to every kitchen." -- The Independent, Oct 04

More than a cookbook, "The Food of Spain and Portugal" is a beautifully illustrated traveler’s guide to the Iberian peninsula -- Metro (New York edition)

More than a cookbook, The Food of Spain and Portugal is also a beautifully illustrated gastronomic traveler’s guide. -- Metro (New York edition)

The flavors of the Iberian Peninsula come to delicious life in Elisabeth Luard’s newly published book. -- Boston Herald

The flavors of the Iberian Peninsula come to life in Elisabeth Luard’s newly published "The Food of Spain and Portugal" -- Boston Herald --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Kyle Books (April 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904920632
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904920632
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.7 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,563,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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`the food of spain & portugal' by Elisabeth Luard is subtitled `a regional celebration' which is actually more appropriate than calling it a `cookbook' or a `book of recipes'. This does not mean it contains no recipes. It contains quite a few, which are generally very good, but the primary objective of the book is to decorate a tabletop with a survey of the foods of the various regions of the Iberian Peninsula.

For American culinary book buyers, one may be hard pressed to justify the purchase of this book as we already have two major and four minor excellent books on the food and wine of Spain from Penelope Casas. One of these, `Delicioso!' covers Spanish dishes by region, and her first book, `The Food and Wines of Spain' covers the Spanish wine scene about as well as you can possibly want. Ms. Luard spends no time on wines except an occasional mention, especially of port and sherry.

For Portugal, there is the award winning volume, `The Food of Portugal' from leading cookbook author, Jean Anderson. Ms. Anderson makes the point in her book that there are major differences between the culinary practices of Portugal and Spain. So why do a book covering the two culinary traditions simply because they happen to be neighbors on the same peninsula. This is like doing a small book on the cuisines of (Jewish) Israel and (Christian) Lebanon because they are neighbors on the Levant, disregarding the fact that their cuisines are by necessity different due to religious background.

There are several things which are good about this book, contributing to its winning a `Best Foreign Cookery Book -UK' award from Gourmand World. The first is that in spite of its oversized pages and excellent photography and illustrations, the book lists at $29.95.
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Format: Paperback
I do not own this book. I was considering buying it so I was researching the book on Amazon, looking at some pages at random. Within a couple of minutes I found one of my pet peeves. The author listed a title for a recipe in Portuguese "Sopa do Poveres." Odd, I thought, I have never heard of this one even though I was born and raised in the Beiras, where the recipe originated. Then I looked at the translation and it said "Poor Man's Broth..." Oh I get it, she meant to say "Sopa dos Pobres." Honestly, if you're going to include recipe titles in a foreign language, you might as well hire someone who knows the language to proof-read your titles; if you're too cheap to do it, consider investing in a good dictionary of Portuguese-English.

I'm not buying this book. I think I'll wait and see what David Leite's book on Portuguese cuisine will look like. He's in Portugal right now researching it. Hopefully, he'll pay more attention to the original titles.
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