With the triumph of shows like Masterchef™, Australia has seen a surge in the popularity of cuisines from around the globe. Oftentimes, there’s a glut in the market of big name chefs seizing onto the popularity of a certain type of cooking. But every so often, readers and aspiring cooks have the chance to learn from the greats.
There’s something comforting about an expert in their field taking your hand and introducing you to their world, explaining the details and elements that are easily overlooked by dilettantes. If you’ve ever wanted to learn about Turkish cuisine from someone with an infectious passion for the region, you’re probably going to love Essential Turkish Cuisine by Engin Akin.
Engin Akin is a Turkish national treasure; an expert of the cuisine with a love not just of the food, but the history behind the dishes. For Akin, food isn’t just a haphazard collection of ingredients, but a serving of history directly inspired by the stories of Turkey and its people.
Essential Turkish Cuisine is a labour of love chronicling not just the foods of the region, but the history of the Turkish landscape and its impact upon the flavours of the cuisine. This is an indulgent and intimate look into the lives of a culture we love, but often know precious little about.
The photography is stunning, managing to showcase the inherent simplicity of the foods as well as the beauty of Turkish décor. The true beauty lies in the simplicity: this isn’t food you’ll need an hour to pretty up before serving. It’s the sort of food you could prepare for a weekend get together without spending your time sweltering in the kitchen.
The classics of Turkish cuisine are showcased here, alongside a wealth of lesser known, delicious looking dishes sure to tempt the tastebuds and inspire some kitchen adventuring. Though Essential Turkish Cuisine works as an in-depth introduction to Turkish foods, the recipes gathered together are just as useful for novices as experienced cooks. Whether you’ve tried your hand at Turkish cooking before, or are working up your nerve to give it a go, there’s likely to be a recipe you’ll fall in love with.
Essential Turkish Cuisine is available on iTunes and Kindle.
Rating: 3 and a half stars
Review by Kylie Thompson