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Peru: The Cookbook Hardcover – May 18, 2015
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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"Top 20 Cookbook in 2015" —Amazon
"A tome of Peruvian food, by its most acclaimed ambassador." —Good Things
About the Author
Gastón Acurio was born in Lima, Peru in 1967. He has created an international empire, exporting Peruvian cuisine around the world. Acurio owns more than 44 international restaurants, including three locations of La Mar restaurant in the USA. He plans to open more locations around the world in the next two years, including in Washington DC. Acurio is a host of a television program in Peru and is met by tens of thousands of fans wherever he makes a public appearance. People have started endorsing Gastón Acurio as the next Peruvian president in several newspaper articles, Facebook fan pages, TV debates and a new movie, Finding Gastón, from Peruvian director Patricia Perez. His main restaurant Astrid y Gastón is on the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list at # 18. He won the lifetime achievement award at the Latin America Best Restaurants in 2013.
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Top customer reviews
I am Peruvian, a mestizo, I have a passion for cooking and I love cookbooks! It is like an obsession for me, always trying to find the best and the latest cookbook published about the ethnic cuisines I am interested in! Been cooking for my family for more years than I want to remember and here I am giving a very opinionated impression of this particular book which I still love to have, regardless of my thoughts about it.
I love Gaston Acurio Jaramillo for all that he has taught us Peruvians! Si se puede! Yes you can! He is a fine and very good example of what the new generations of Peruvians can do with their future and a source of constant inspiration for all of us! He has integrity, resourcefulness, ideas and leads us on the ways that have to be trodden if we think we have a vision of success for ourselves. That if you have a dream you can materialize that dream if you work hard, have the right partner of course, and the right mom. I believe intensely that both his wife, Astrid, and his mother, were and still are, hopefully, powerful influences in his life and thus share his success. But, you see, I believe that others involved in this project had a sloppy, unfocused, unorganized attitude and working methods and have done him "un flaco favor..." this time. And this makes me angry!
PERU: THE COOKBOOK, is not a bad book. It is great if you look at it from other angles that I cannot, at this moment, even guess. Perhaps I am too in love with my Peruvian food, but I guess it is a good starting point for those who want to know more about Peru, our cooking and food stuffs. Hopefully more people around the world will get to know us a little bit more and... and a little better! But...
THE COVER: Not inspiring. Warm and cuddly and just right enough for a baby blanket... It is obviously a woman's woven "lliclla". Lliclla colors are deep, meaningful, dark and vibrant lines of browns, blacks, reds, greens, yellows; inter-sped with white and occasional deep purples, lilacs, and oranges... not pastels... These colors show our character, strong determination, deeply rooted values. Who thought of pastels for the cover?
THE LAYOUT: Not practical enough to place on kitchen counter. Too narrow in width. If "management" wanted a "coffee-table cookbook" they missed their mark. It does not look like one, does not open like one, lacks sufficient photography... Paper could have been better! Colors differentiating sections not adequately conceived. Hardly any headnotes. Personally, reading well-crafted headnotes makes me feel warm, cozy, as if I knew the author and together we embark in this adventure where he is giving me the reasons he chose this recipe or his path. Or shares something funny that was memorable. And I smile with him, or her...
RECIPE WRITING: Gaston's recipes have been interpreted carelessly. Lousy and missing descriptions vital to their understanding. Not enough clarity. CONSISTENCY IS ABSENT! There was plenty of space, "down there after the recipe" at the bottom of the page to add notes to enlighten the reader !!! The lack of respect towards Acurio's recipes is amazing, baffling and suspect... Typos abound! The printer could have been better chosen. Several strong editorial revisions should have been made.
LINGOLEAF: Translation Group --- Where you there? I mean you, Anne and Josefin. Really? Was this a job you honestly cared about as anybody working on translations of any language usually does? Did you employ people that not only knew the language but the culture and the meaning of each word for that country in particular? Tell me, I pray, what are "mollejitas" in Peru? Are they, come on, really "sweetbreads"? Of chicken? Did you know that here in the U.S. "mollejas" are known as "chicken gizzards"? Yes. Even in America... I am talking in culinary terms. Current vernacular, every day language in this country.
Chicken sweetbreads? Are you joking? When you go, in New York City, to a "fancy" English or French restaurant and order "sweetbreads" what do you think is coming to you?... Did you accept the language "version" south of the border? Do you know that Peruvians and Colombians are the only two countries in Latin America that speak true Castillian Spanish in their daily lives? Did you know that this Spanish is NOT A DIALECT but the very essence of our lives in Peru, Colombia and Spain and the only proper, educated language, used academically and intellectually to address one another and make sense?
Example: How about translating "papa seca" as "dehydrated flaked potatoes"?... Do you personally know what "papa seca" is? Did you see Gaston's description at the beginning of that recipe for Carapulcra state... "each piece of (dried) potato gradually develops a lovely al-dente texture..." My question: the translation states "dehydrated flaked potatoes..." What comes to mind is more like those potato flakes by Oreida and others, ready to make mashed potatoes. Could that develop "a lovely al-dente texture..."? Can you close your eyes and imagine the "texture" of potato flakes...? Al dente...? Can you see what I mean?
Example: What about the "animalitos" business? It is the function and duty of a good, responsible translator to point this "word" out of the bunch to both the author and the editor co-publisher and suggest that a substitute word be found or a substantial explanation be given. Do you agree? Good, because to me it sounds as if somebody is making fun of somebody or something and I don't like it. A learned translator would have asked if Original Ritz Crackers would do the trick, right? Or something else, right?
TRANSLATION IS AWFUL, CARELESS, MINDLESS and, again, made in speed time to finish before five p.m., get it over with, smile a lot and go for tapas... Well, you are young only once and for a brief time, right? Come on, let's go on... forward... Hurry up! Understandable... I get it...
"Poor Man's Tacu-Tacu." A poor man using Peruvian canary beans...? For Xmas perhaps. A poor man in Peru, to feed his family, uses anything out of legumes or carbos like potatoes, to prepare a Tacu-Tacu and yet, many of the comments on the opinions of the pundits on-line that have been fed the adequate marketing buzz describe this particularly named recipe as using only canary beans. If you go to the market canary beans are one of the most expensive beans in the place. Sooo Wall Street and so sophisticated! Guess who sent the message for the one-line comment repeated often enough and throughout on cyberspace and book sections of newspapers...?
The worse part of everything, altogether, is wordiness, windiness, excessive verbosity. It is so pervasive that I do not have the time or the will to go into it. So much wasted space! Giving way to forget to add, at the bottom of each page, an explanation to enhance that particular recipe, making it more palatable, more accessible or even to describe ancient Inca ways to prepare food, such as BATAN, our original food processor... Shame!
And, as a customer, I don't even have those plain "dumb" pages of SOURCES or lists of places where I can go on-line and order ingredients or products to finalize the preparation of the exquisite delights described in the book. What a missed opportunity to promote our manufactured Peruvian home-grown products... Are you there PROMPERU? I don't have to go into the INDEX problem. Some of the other reviews have taken care of this... Wie Schade!
These are my views and my opinions, of course, but I concur with the reviewers before me. All in all, not bad but IT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER! Much better! We all know and love Gaston Acurio Jaramillo dearly and neither him nor our country deserved this.
Personally, one last thing... Take Ferran Adria to be Chef at this sushi joint in wherever? No wonder Ferran laughed! He must still be laughing! And speaking of one liners fed to the "pundits" in book reviews at The Wall Street Journal "et al..." GASTON ACURIO JARAMILLO placed at the level of Jamie Oliver and Anthony Bourdain...? Excuse me, are you there? Are you for real? With all due respect to these two nice entertaining Chefs, but really? Hello? Not living in Colorado yet, are you? You have no idea what is there out of your space. Do you? I invite you to come over...
I'll get cracking on trying some of these recipes to the T and then update my review.
My first impressions:
1. This cookbook has almost every recipe you will find in your typical Peruvian restaurant in the US. Lomo saltado, arroz con mariscos, arroz con pollo, parihuela, seco de cordero, tacu tacu, chupe de camarones, etc. If you had an amazing dish at a Peruvian restaurant and wondered how they made it, this book might clue you in.
2. If you are familiar with Peruvian food, then you probably love all the random sauces they present to you. This book has a lot of them like creme de rocoto (red sauce), haucatay sauce (the infamous green sauce), Tiger's Milks, etc. Might be worth the price of admission for this section itself.
3. There are a lot of variations of dishes including Japanese variations. Maybe you are in the mood for traditional parihuela soup (ciopinno type of soup). This book has that version and a Japanese version of it along with different versions of chifa fried rice and saltados for example.
1. This cookbook may not be the best suited cookbook for people who can't source Peruvian ingredients like aji amarillo (yellow chilli), aji panca, chicha de jora very easily as most of the recipes call for Peruvian ingredients. Some of the ingredients are not well translated. For instance the book references yellow chillis which might cause some confusion if you didn't know the author meant specifically aji amarillo yellow chillis. It's best you have some experience cooking Peruvian food or familiar with the ingredients (hint: google it).
2. Navigating the cookbook and finding the Spanish name for a recipe is a little cumbersome. For instance, maybe you heard of lomo saltado but wasn't sure what it is (chinese-influenced stir-fry with beef). The index goes mainly by the ingredient so you would have to look under beef - beef tenderloin stir fry to find the page.
3. Quality of the book is average. Paper used is not of the highest quality and while the pictures of the food look amazingly delicious, there is a guesstimate of 1 picture for every 4 dishes (not including sauces, drinks, etc). I guess with 500 recipes, that isn't too shabby.