Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride: And Other Kosher Sephardic Recipes You Will Love! (Anglais) Relié – mars 2011
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Reyna Simnegar is not Persian, but when she married her "dear husband," who is Persian, he insisted that she learn how to cook Persian foods. "Persians," she writes, "love their food" and "their music." She soon became "enamored with Persian culture. I loved all the Middle Eastern flavors, the smell, the music, the color.... I had no idea that this people with such a vibrant culture existed." She introduces the book with a description of Iranian Jews, how this book is kosher, six pages of what things the non-Persian woman must have in her Persian kitchen, and a page on "It's my kitchen and I'll marinate if I want to!"
In her section on appetizers, for example, she gives recipes for three Persian breads, seven dips, and fourteen salads. All are tasty, all are nourishing. Each recipe is introduced by a paragraph or two with general information. Eggplant, for instance, is to Persian Jews what potatoes are to non-Persians. As with potatoes, salt should be added to release flavor. In this paragraph about babaganoush, she shows her breezy writing style. "Yes, you can totally buy babaganoush at the grocery store, but once you have made your own (which, by the way, is `easy-shmeezy'). You will never be able to go back to the mass-produced variety." Then she proves her point: "My husband loves this so much that if it were up to him he would use it instead of tooth paste." She continues, as she does for all her recipes, with a section describing the ingredients followed by a step by step procedure on how to combine them and produce the desired dip. Her presentation is clear that even a non-cook can follow it. The ingredients that she mentions are easy to obtain. She presents many of her recipes as if she were telling stories in the Persian Thousand and One Nights.
Some of the recipes have an additional section on the side such as "Tricks of the trade," You are what you eat," and "Tools of the trade." She concludes with about thirty pages on "Persian Holiday Tutorial" and "Other Persian Peculiarities I happen to Love."
In sum, this is a delightful book, put together with artistic flourish, with savory recipes. There is a tradition that the biblical Garden of Eden was situated in Persia. This book gives the Garden of Eden of foods.
I cant' begin to describe how lovely the cookbook is from the recipes to beautiful photographs to the format, I am absolutely in love with this book! There are tables/charts (that include descriptions, kosher Status, and where to find the item) which show "Spices and Seeds used in Persian cooking, Herbs used in Persian cooking, Most Vegetables and Fruits used in this book, Persian and Middle Eastern Gadgets, and Persian and Middle Eastern Products". Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride holds a plethora of information between the pages.
The recipes are categorized as such, within the sections:
"Appetizers and Side Dishes"
"Fish and Soups"
"Poultry and Meat"
"Persian Snacks""Persian Beverages and Desserts"
"Persian Holiday Tutorial", which includes not only suggested foods, but also particular Jewish holidays and suggested foods for that holiday.
The recipes are delicious sounding, and I made the Chicken in Tomato Sauce and Saffron recipe. I have to tell you that it was outstanding! Take a look at the recipe:
2 whole chickens or 2 chickens cut in pieces or 1 whole turkey
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon saffron powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder pr 3 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 lime juiced or 3 tablespoons lime concentrate
1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. In small bowl combine all ingredients
3. Rub some marinade inside cavity of whole birds. Rub outside of poultry with marinade
4. Bake, uncovered for one hour. Cover with with foil to avoid burning sauce, and bake for 45 more minutes or until thermometer reads160 F
It will yield 8 to 10 servings of delicious chicken!
The cookbook is filled with rich recipes and wonderful photographs, recipes that everyone will enjoy, no matter your background. The ease and delight of Persian cooking is amazingly presented in a user-friendly style, appropriate for beginning cook to more advanced. I highly recommend Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride to everyone. Reyna Simnegar has brought Persian food to the world in this incredible cookbook. There are recipes in there that all a will enjoy making and eating.
Thank you, Stuart Schnee, PR, for sending me this delightful and deliciously beautiful cookbook, published by Feldheim Publishers.
I seldom write reviews to begin with, so I rarely ever bother to write one for a book I so actively disliked, but in this case, I am not only appalled by the book itself, but also wonder if the person who reviewed before me was paid to sing such high praises.
The book looks beautiful and expensively made, with a nice lay-out and lots of full colour photographs. The disappointment sets in the second one starts to read the recipes carefully. Apparently, cooking to the author means more often than not to open various cans and throw them together; instead of using the proper spices, she uses taco seasoning and a flavoured salt popular in the US, and the moment she added pasta sauce from a jar to her "Persian Mussaka", I weeped. Seriously? I had high hopes for this book, but it was just a waste of money.
P.S.: Refering to "Simnegar brought Persian food to the world", as my fellow reviewer puts it - no, she did not. I own a dozen Persian cookbooks, each one better than this one, and if somebody "brought Persian food to the world", it would be Najmieh Batmanglij with her outstanding publication Food of Life, where you will find real Persian food cooked from scratch. If you are interested in somewhat exotic Jewish cookery, I highly recommend Poopa Dweck's Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews along with Joan Nathan's The Foods of Israel Today.
We then made a desert dish that was mediocre (though some may like it a lot). I think we made another dish that was of similar quality, but since then we've shied away from making more recipes out of this book. However, we will not be selling it and believe it possible, if not probable, that there are numerous excellent recipes w/in the book.
As for the American, canned, or otherwise non-ideal ingredients accusations of the 1* reviewers, I concur with them since it is a Persian cookbook, and not a "Mostly Persian Food from the...Will Love" book. However, I don't think this reason should impact review ratings so harshly, especially as there are many recipes lacking these sorts of ingredients.
My recommendation: If the author is to go through each recipe and ensure they are of the highest caliber of Persian cuisine, then publishes all corrections on a web site, I could go through my book and make edits. The 2nd printing could contain those corrections and refinements, as well. Should this happen, I would like to raise my review rating in an update. For the non-Persian ingredients issue, I recommend that she always put in the most authentic ingredients but can then list substitutions (such as seasoned salt).