The World on a Plate

By : | 0 Comments | On : March 8, 2017 | Category : book review

40 Cuisines, 100 Recipes, and the Stories Behind Them

by Mina Holland

 

Eat your way around the world without leaving your home in this mouthwatering cultural history of 100 classic dishes.

Best Culinary Travel Book (U.K.), Gourmand World Cookbook Awards

Finalist for the Fortnum & Mason Food Book Award

“When we eat, we travel.” So begins this irresistible tour of the cuisines of the world, revealing what people eat and why in forty cultures. What’s the origin of kimchi in Korea? Why do we associate Argentina with steak? Why do people in Marseille eat bouillabaisse? What spices make a dish taste North African versus North Indian? What is the story behind the curries of India? And how do you know whether to drink a wine from Bourdeaux or one from Burgundy?

Bubbling over with anecdotes, trivia, and lore—from the role of a priest in the genesis of Camembert to the Mayan origins of the word chocolateThe World on a Plate serves up a delicious mélange of recipes, history, and culinary wisdom to be savored by food lovers and armchair travelers alike.

TSG Review

This recipe book is also a history lesson on cultures and their food. Each chapter takes you to a different country, gives you a little history about it’s culture, then shows you a few popular recipes from that given region. Before the recipes there is a section called Pantry List that is pretty interesting, it lists popular ingredients heavily used in that part of the world whether or not they use it in the following recipes. The recipes themselves, for the most part, are easy to use but with no pictures it can be difficult imagining what your dish should look like especially if you are unfamiliar with a particular cuisine.

I followed all of these recipes exactly as written.

Beef Bulgogi

Korea

Serves 4
IMG_7473This turned out pretty good but the recipe had me marinade the onions and carrots with the meat overnight which destroyed the crispness of the veggies and softened their bright colors with beef juice, however, it had a great taste. The toasted sesame seeds and the soy were the flavors I picked up most in this dish. The author says you can put this on a bed of rice like I did or slap it on a french baguette to make a sandwich. I think it would have tasted better if the veggies were not marinated with the beef otherwise it felt like I was eating at a Korean restaurant.

 

Hazelnut Soup with Hazelnut Crocanti and Ice Cream

Catalonia, Spain

Serves 6
Hazelnut Soup with Hazelnut Crocanti RecipeIMG_7858

You have to have some specialized equipment (food processor, silicon mat) for this but man it’s good. Vanilla ice cream sitting in a white sauce that is basically sweetened hazelnut milk and it has an incredible nutty flavor. Topped of with a hazelnut brittle that takes this over the top. The only downside to this is blanching the hazelnuts. I found out just how obnoxious it is trying to get the skins off those little buggers.

Salmon and Beurre Blanc

Loire Valley, France

Serves 4

The French are known for amazing dishes because of dishes like this. Steamed salmon bathed in butter-wine sauce with hints of lemon, scallions, and parsley. Such great combinations of flavors I loved it. It recommended serving it with new potatoes or rice. I picked the rice because it would soak up that beurre blanc sauce and make them, oh so tasty! For what people perceive to be a difficult meal to prepare it was surprisingly easy to do. The sauce, fish, and rice all finished at the same time and only took 25 minutes to cook! I will be adding this to my repertoire.

Summary

This is cookbook with dishes from all over the world with chapters on each continent. Loads of information about each country focusing on their culinary habits and diet but also a bit of history too. There are no pictures in the book except maps. I usually don’t like that because the pictures help me decide if i want to make something and help determine if it came out right. With out them i’m sorta lost. Not as many recipes as you might think but the reading is fun and I feel makes up for that. The recipes seem to be slightly simpler versions of recipes I have seen in other books and I think that it affects some of the dishes poorly. On the other hand, it put dishes in my reach I wouldn’t have tried before because they are just to difficult or have a ton of ingredients. Either way I made four dishes that I really liked so I have to give this book a big thumbs up. Not really single worthy but if you are going to be entertaining this is a good book to pick-up.

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