Getting cabin fever? Want to do some traveling? Cookbooks are a great vehicle to expand your horizons to foreign lands. Get a taste of a culture, the people, and most importantly, the foods, just by walking through international cookbooks. You can travel across an exotic country like Tibet, a province like Provence, France, or a region like the Mediterranean. The trek is boundless. From browsing the recipes and their ingredients you can envision the types of spices, vegetables, grains and livestock that are indigenous to that area. Have you ever used turmeric, cumin, tamarind, or lemongrass? Have you heard about stinky tofu or durian fruit from Southeast Asia? How about being adventurous by adding octopus, eel or snails to your menu? Well, if these food items don’t turn you on, there are plenty of scrumptious dishes that are sure to entice you. “Traveling” through these cookbooks also introduces us to new and different methods of cooking. Many of us are familiar with the use of a wok but have you tried clay pots like the Moroccan tagine, Spanish cazuela, Provence tian, or Chinese sandpot which are all especially great for slow cooked dishes? Just think of the possibilities…all in your own home.
As you travel from country to country, make sure you stop off China to celebrate Chinese New Year on February 14th in the lunar year 4708. It is the Year of the Tiger! Most Asian countries are in preparation now for this major holiday that gathers families together to welcome a hopeful new year. Join in the festivities by creating some Asian dishes that will delight your family and friends. Get ready for the compliments. Gung Hay Fat Choy! Wishing you a prosperous and healthy New Year!
I hope you will use your library passport and enter the world outside of your cocoon and make this cooking exploration an adventure. Enjoy the following selections:
Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China by Jeffrey Alford
Cooks from the Heart of Italy by Lidia Bastianich
The New Greek Cuisine by Jim Botsacos
Simply Mexican by Lourdes Castro
In a Cuban Kitchen by Alex Garcia
660 Curries: Gateway to the World of Indian Cooking by Raghavan Iyer
The New Irish Table by Margaret M. Johnson
The Indonesian Kitchen by Sri Owen The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells
Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking by Paula Wolfert
Martin Yan’s China by Martin Yan