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Turkey. For people who live to eat, drink & travel (Anglais) Broché – 1 juin 2000
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Be prepared for British English and terminology, and for metric measures. Prepare to locate items such as 500g of drained vine leaves and 250g of puff pastry and convert measurements from a table on the back cover. Not difficult, just inconvenient.
But the most annoying aspect of this book was the writing. Frequently I would find myself having to read sentences two or three times to determine what was being conveyed. Such as the author's saying that the Turks "have been noodling for some time" (meaning making pasta) ... or describing losing one's appetite as a "tummy plummet". He describes baklava as the "swooniest sweet thang". Men were described as "blokes" or "mates" from time to time. Get ready for words like "groovy", "shebang", "squelchy", "munchies". Almost immediately I began to feel that the book was written by an adolescent. Note: A glance at the other four seemed to avoid the weak attempts at humor).
In fact, all of the Lonely Planet Food Guides have been written by people who have authored earlier Lonely Planet TRAVEL Guides and therein lies the problem in my opinion. I would love to see these compact, well photographed, affordable books written by a food professional who is intimately acquainted with the culture, history and people of the featured country.
Thanks to the author's zeal, Turkey comes alive through its food in this small tome, one of the many country-specific entries in Lonely Planet's series of fine, pocket-sized "World Food" books. Any traveler worth his or her salt knows the best and easiest way to get to the heart of a country is to experience firsthand the culinary delights that country has to offer. This book would be an invaluable guide to anyone visiting this surprisingly robust epicurean center as she covers the vast landscape of food and drink there. Valent moves fluidly from the culture and history of Turkish cuisine through the staples and specialties you would find in a Turkish kitchen to the nuances of regional fare, whether it's the heavy influence of the sea in the Aegean and Black Sea regions or the wheat-based dishes of Central Anatolia.
I particularly like the sections that focus on celebrating with food and the delicacies you find in street kiosks. Obviously not all the food is meant to be savored by everyone, but this provides a comprehensive, easy-to-read guide to the variety of tastes and sensations to be experienced including a definitive culinary dictionary, a quick-reference glossary and useful phrases when you order food and drink there. Valent includes recipes for delicacies like chicken breast pudding and stuffed grape leaves, city maps highlighting favorite eateries, and special insets on highlights like Konya's whirling dervishes, Bosphorus fish sandwiches and of course, Istanbul's world-famous Spice Bazaar. If Valent's knowledgeable prose is not enough, the wonderful photographs should convince you. Whether you are visiting to Turkey or content as an armchair traveler, this is a guidebook worth seeking out.
"The Turkish version of the pizza parlour is a slice of heaven if you're after quick and tasty belly fuel".
On the next page, there is a reference to "a between meal carbo tweak" and then later, "McWhoppers", These phrases and made-up words get old quickly when you are trying to read more than a page or two at a time.
If this doesn't bother you, then by all means, buy this book. If it does, read up by checking out a Turkish cookbook and your guidebook (like LP's Istanbul guide).
I think the author was trying to have fun but it gets old quickly. Call me old-fashioned, but I think it is better to keep to words that are in the dictionary.
The Andre Simon Memorial Fund will be staging a reception to announce the winners of the food and drink awards and the special commendation award. It will be held in London in March 2001, date and venue to be confirmed.
Jim and Perihan Masters
P.S. Come join us at the 'Learning Practical Turkish' website for more on the subject of Turkey, its language, and its food! j&p
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