I’ve used that quote too many times, but it is again appropriate. This book, intended for the “English-speaking housewife” seems like a little bit of culinary patriotism.
It stakes out its ground on the first page, claiming baklava, musakka, and pilaki as strictly Turkish dishes. I know a few yiayias who would loudly differ.
But it does rightly claim “farming delicacies and culinary excellence,” no matter what yiayia says. And in a slim paperback, it efficiently covers a lot of ground, offering translations of Turkish foodstuffs, including fish, notes on Turkish pronunciation, metric conversion tables. The recipes in chapters run through the meal from hors d’oeuvres to sweets, as well as chapters on drinks, fruit, and spices and herbs.
But aside from recipes are some revealing cultural assumptions. “The chief items of Turkish hors d’oeuvres are oil dishes such as fried eggplants with tarator or yogurt dressing…”. “Pork has never been in favor, it is offered to Westerners only.” “Mutton, far more tasty than that marketed in Europe or America, is the kind of meat consumed by the majority of people.” It then goes on to describe types of mutton, from a different types of sheep, prepared as rissoles, skewers, and doner kebap.
Plus, I love the cover design–it’s kind of like this one.