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The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors: Recipes You Should Have Gotten from Your Grandmother Hardcover – November 1, 1990
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From School Library Journal
YA-- If ever a book needed to be on the shelves of libraries serving YAs, this is it. It's a treasure trove of information for those who enjoy cooking, who are interested in ethnic studies of the U. S., or who long for a deeper connection with their heritage. Smith shares with readers recipes of immigrants who are often overlooked--Basques, Ethiopians, Jamaicans, Latvians, Scottish, Saudi Arabians, and many more. Each chapter begins with an illustration of the people, a map, and a few pages of introduction, including history and food customs. The recipes are clearly written and easy to follow. Hints and equipment lists are thorough. A cookbook bibliography, immigrant history bibliography, source list for unusual ingredients, and an index complete the package. Celebrate America's melting pot with a cookbook that honors our diversity.
- Linda Vretos, West Springfield High School, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Some of the ingredients MIGHT take a little more effort to acquire than a trip to your local grocery store... though I've never had to resort to ordering any ingredients online, it might be the only option for some people.
I live in a large modern city with lots of people from all over the world so there tends to be places like specialty delis, markets and import stores that are not at all out of my way. Plus, I love going to them anyway so I don't consider it a special effort - especially when I get to prepare and eat totally authentic recipes from all over the world.
Smith begins by laying out the methodology of this book (Page 2): "We have traveled all over this great nation eating with immigrants, many of them grandmas, who know that it is terribly important to retain those characteristics of our immigrant ancestry, characteristics that will help us remember who we are." Hence, we have a cook book with a small set of recipes from many countries, from Armenia to the Basque region of Spain to Ethiopia to Jamaica to Ireland to Korea to Lebanon and through Yugoslavia (countries are in alphabetical order). I just received the book and have not had a chance to try out any recipes. But there are a number that I already find tempting and expect to begin trying these out soon!
The first part of the book is a standard discussion of cooking tools needed, a glossary of ingredients and condiments, and an essay on the immigrant experience. But it's the recipes that are the heart of this book. Let's take a look at a few examples.
Armenian Stuffed Meatballs. Ooh. This looks like some work, but it seems scrumptious! A meatball within a meatball. The inner meatball is made from ground lamb (or beef), onions, green bell paper, parsley, pine nuts, paprika, mint leaves, and a set of spices. After cooking these and rolling small meatballs, one makes the outer meatball, with a different set of ingredients.
From Ethiopia, Lamb and Cardamom. Some onions, a couple Ethiopian sauces (recipes included in this section), lamb, cumin, cardamom seeds, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Once one has assembled the ingredients this looks pretty straightforward--and tasty!
A Lebanese dish, Baked Lamb Kibbe. Boneless leg of lamb, butter, pine nuts, onion, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper. Sautee the lamb in butter, and then assemble Kibbe (recipe on the preceding page), and move ahead. Again, a recipe that really sounds delicious.
And so on. It's fun just to skim recipes from different countries and enjoy contemplating what each would taste like! The book ends with a quotation from the author (Page 574): "The point of this book is simple. If we do not understand our ancestral table, I doubt that we can understand our history." Maybe a bit overstated, but that sums up the author's philosophy in this volume. Worth taking a look at!