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Taste of Persia: A Cook's Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan Hardcover – September 20, 2016
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—Food & Wine
“Brilliant. . . . One of the most excitingly accessible books of the season, combining nuanced diasporic traditions, straightforward recipes and easy-to-find ingredients.”
“In lieu of a Persian grandmother . . . any eager cook will be well-served by Naomi Duguid, the globe-trotting author of Taste of Persia. . . . Too many Persian cookbooks c an be overly technical; they miss the soul of the thing. With one foot in the old world and one in the new, Ms. Duguid does a beautiful job of translating complex concoctions into accurate, easy-to-follow recipes that reflect not just the flavors but the spirit of the countries that once made up the Persian Empire.
—The Wall Street Journal
“For years [Naomi Duguid] has been writing deep-dive books with a photographic National Geographic bent and recipes that work. Taste of Persia . . . [is] particularly timely. Duguid captures dishes that reflect history and culture while being simply what’s on the table.”
—The Los Angeles Times, Our Favorite Cookbooks of Fall 2016
“While the recipes are appetizing and approachable, this book is about more than cooking—it’s about better understanding a region and its people. Now, more than ever, books like Duguid’s make for vital reading.”
—The San Francisco Chronicle, Our Favorite Cookbooks from 2016
“A fascinating culinary excursion. . . . Taste of Persia opens with a map, which illustrates Ms. Duguid’s wise observation that regional cooking doesn’t respect borders. So the search for Persian cuisine includes stops in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran and Kurdistan. We are seduced from the start with the flavors of the region: saffron (most of the world’s supply comes from this part of the world), mint, dill, parsley, cilantro, dried rose petals, sumac, lime, pomegranate and honey. Cinnamon, cardamom and other sweet spices weave their way through savory and sweet dishes. Ms. Duguid’s discoveries on these intrepid travels are shared in stories and pictures, along with an abundance of recipes.”
—The New York Times, The Best Cookbooks of Fall 2016
“Gorgeous and useful.”
—The Seattle Times
“Intensely fragrant foods and evocative travel writing. . . . This gorgeous and compelling title will transport home cooks and armchair travelers to another time and place.”
—Library Journal, starred review
“Naomi Duguid’s cookbooks belong to their own genre—they are unique travel journals studded with history, geography and ethnography, along with fabulous photos of the people she meets and the places she goes. Then, of course, there are the intriguing, detailed recipes she collects. It’s more than armchair travel—you become immersed in the culinary culture of a faraway part of the world. Taste of Persia, Duguid’s latest, is a glorious trip through these five countries that once were part of the Persian empire.”
—BookPage, Top Pick in Cookbooks
“A brilliant and beautiful book.”
“This book is not singularly about ‘Persian food.’ It is about a culinary region and culture, about transcending borders, about contextualizing a rich, edible heritage. . . . Though Duguid tested recipes over and over again in her kitchen in Toronto, the recipes rightfully belong to the women she met during her travels. The book celebrates unsung food artists who have shared their cooking practices and recipes through centuries of oral tradition and culture. . . . Sometimes it takes an outsider who has a different perspective, to look at a region with appreciation and talk about the historical ties and culinary links.”
—The Globe & Mail
About the Author
Duguid’s articles and photographs appear regularly in Lucky Peach, Food & Wine, and other publications. She is a frequent guest speaker and presenter at food conferences. She is the host of Toronto’s Food on Film series and has a strong online presence (Twitter and Facebook). Her stock photo agency, Asia Access, is based in Toronto, where she lives when she is not on the road.
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Top Customer Reviews
I absolutely love Duguid's travel writing/photography as well--which makes this a lovely book even if you might not be whipping up weeknight dishes of Kurdish eggplant stew. Duguid, traveling solo, takes great intimate photos of regular people in their regular kitchens, and her travel vignettes show a generosity of spirit and lack of snark or judgment that's often lacking in good travel writing, especially about this area, which can seem so daunting or antagonistic to Americans.
I've already cooked a bunch of things from the book and have saffron water waiting in my fridge, ready to flavor everything. Big hits:
--saffron-cardamom cake-cookie things
--apricot-walnut rolled pastry that wouldn't seem out of place in a Scandinavian baking book
--Georgian beef stew with walnuts that was declared "best ever" in our house (fair warning: this involved some marigold spice mix that I happened to have on hand already, but I think the technique and other, more common ingredients are what make the magic here)
--that silky, lovely Kurdish eggplant stew
--borani (veg with yogurt and fried onions...that I'm going downstairs to make right now...)
Thanks for opening a window on a lovely part of the world!
It's a hassle to return books, but I am returning this one.
PS: It is simply not true that this book covers new ground. Between Darra Goldstein's book on Georgian food and Margaret Shaida's on Persian, most of this material is covered.