3 Books about Turkish Cuisine That Should Be In Your Kitchen
When it came to promoting worldly cuisines, the late chef Anthony Bourdain had the magic touch. When he visited a country to indulge in local food, the ripple effect of recognition went worldwide, and without a doubt, he contributed towards a market surge in books about Turkish cuisine, through his visits to Istanbul as seen in the 2010 episode of No Reservations and his 2015 return visit in the Parts Unknown series.
Anthony fell in love with Turkish food during his first meal. He famously said
“I’m really getting to like the bright, contrasting flavours and colours at work, the freshness and of course the portions.”
Such was his influence, the Istanbul restaurants he visited gained notoriety with western travellers seeking them out to replicate Anthony’s experience for themselves. Those who couldn’t make it to Turkey, opted for the next best thing, books.
Fast forward eight years and many cooks, bloggers and food lovers have written about Turkish food. But which stand the test of time as favourite reads and what are the latest publications readers are raving about?
3 Best Selling and Latest Books about Turkish Cuisine
Ozlem’s Turkish Table: Recipes from my Homeland
Each region in Turkey has a culinary speciality to boast about, and Ozlem does just that by offering up recipes from her homeland, Antakya near the Syrian border. The love of food runs through her family’s blood. Her mother was a food merchant, and her grandmother, who had a passion for cooking often invited anybody and everybody to the family table.
Ozlem also had a beautiful childhood growing up eating 100% fresh produce, a stark difference from the additive and preservative-laden food that often graces the modern dining table. The cuisine of her hometown, Antakya draws influence from Ottoman, French and Arabic dishes and where readers are unable to source the exact ingredient, Ozlem offers a suitable alternative.
Ozlem is also on a mission to get rid of the typical stereotype that Turkey’s cuisine is all about meat. Many of the dishes will suit vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free eaters. So far, British readers in particular have become die-hard fans of this book, and Ozlem also holds culinary workshops for those who want to work side-by-side with her.
Sultan’s Kitchen: A Turkish Cookbook
In the 18th century, Sultan Ahmed the Third hosted a staggering 15 days feast, and Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent was also renowned for having more than 1000 cooks. This proves the importance of food during the Ottoman era and the Sultan’s Kitchen cookbook promises to teach you how to “create meals fit for a sultan.”
The author Ozcan Ozan, who made food his life by becoming a professional chef, grew up in Izmir on the Aegean coast of Turkey, a region with many similarities to Greek cuisine. He also spent time in kitchens around Europe including Paris before opening a restaurant in Boston Massachusetts called Sultan’s Kitchen.
So, for him to go back to his culinary heritage might seem like madness to international food lovers but as Ozcan says “it goes without saying that when you eat in Turkey, you eat well.” This old-time book was first published in 1998, but Ozcan adds an extra something for wannabe cooks by also putting together full menus for winter and summer. The Boston Globe gave this book the seal of approval by saying this is “real old-world cooking.”
Istanbul and Beyond: Exploring the Diverse Cuisines of Turkey
Published in 2017, this collaboration between chef Robyn Eckhardt and her photographer husband, David Hagerman, ensures cooks not only get an immense number of recipes to try but excellent photos to whet your appetite and judge your attempts by.
Robyn’s love of Turkish food first began when she visited the North-East Black sea region. After that, she explored many other areas from the east to the west and decided to write her own with an emphasis on the intense diversity of each region’s cuisine.
This book is also a labour of love since it was twenty years in the making, and includes many recipes influenced by neighbouring regions of Turkey including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenian and Georgia. Starting off with an introduction of what to put in your pantry, recipes are categorised into topics such as mezes, appetisers, soups, breakfast and brunch, beef, lamb, chicken, etc.
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