In the best tradition of the French "slow food," Bryan Rylee has written a cookbook on Persian rice recipes. It's not particularly a culinary "secret," that like a lot of things in life, love for example, when one takes one's time, the end result is so much better. Rylee's book pushed my "hot button" because I knew that I had not been taking enough time cooking my rice - the old routine of "pop it in the microwave" and 8-10 minutes later, it would serve as the base for some other food preparation.
The heart of this short cookbook is 20 Persian rice recipes, each with its Iranian name, which should be rolling off the tongue in no time. The preparation time is at least an hour, and as long as five hours, in some cases. Slow food, indeed, for the modern world. The recipes are good for four or six, in the traditional format of listing all ingredients, followed by the instructions. It appears that the author has responded to previous (in my opinion, unwarranted) criticism of the use of metric measurements of his ingredients, as he has now provided English measurement equivalents (I would assume that nowadays, most people should be able to deal with "500 grams.") Also, and most fortunately, most medium-size American cities have at least one "international food market" where all these ingredients should be readily obtained. (Albuquerque, NM, has two). Each of the recipes did sound delicious, and I am sure they are.
The recipes are preceded by a short chapter on the cooking of rice, and the various methods involved, and they are followed by a short chapter on the most expensive spice: saffron, which truly is one of the essential ingredients in Persian cooking. Most of the world's supply still comes from Iran, followed by Spain.
My criticism of the book is confined to the historical context in which the author tried to place his recipes, as well as the editing. For example, the first sentence in the section "Persian Rice, Rice Like You Never Had Before" is as follows: "Of the many ancient cuisines, Persian Cuisine is one with roots that date back to the ancient era of the world." Later, we learn that ancient Persia was "founded" in 549 BCE by Cyrus the Great, who apparently "discovered" it. In other sections, there are also some redundancies. All of which, thanks to electronic publishing, can be cleaned up, and a better overall guide to an important world cuisine can be presented.
Still, it was an inspiration read, telling me I could do better, even much better, in my own rice cooking. 4-stars.