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Flavours of India and the World!
by Helen Hatton
 (January 24, 2003)

Saying "Indian food" is rather like describing American cuisine as hamburgers and fries, or Irish as corned beef and cabbage. You get the picture – and we did too after reading Meena Pathak's Flavours of India. This new book is her personal collection of authentic Indian recipes from all over the huge sub-continent, and we found that they vary widely depending on the origin and location.

Meena Pathak knows more than most about this delicious subject, as she is Director of Product Development for Patak's, the international Indian food company. Patak's is a great story of immigrants to England in the 1950s who did very well, thank you, by starting out selling samosas and snacks from their home. They flourished, and today the business is worldwide with a long line of products and authentic ingredients, including breads, pickles and those wonderful chutneys.

Cookbooks are utterly international and cross-cultural today, with seemingly every cuisine represented in recipes. The author may be from Britain, British Columbia or Colombia; the recipes could have special ingredients from each of these places – or anywhere else, for that matter.

Problem is... what on earth are some of these ingredients that they're talking about? Garum masala? Ground amchoor? These days we all need a food dictionary, and our favourite is International Dictionary of Gastronomy, by Guido Gómez de Silva. Hot off the press, it's full of listings from abacaxi (Portuguese for pineapple) to zwieback (German for twice baked). Gómez de Silva worked in 69 countries as a UN official, and ate his way through them all. He's been gathering restaurant menus for 50 years, and this excellent reference book reflects his depth of knowledge and passion for food!

Hippocrene Books, Inc., published the International Dictionary of Gastronomy as well as many other wonderful titles. Their current cookbook section offers some amazing selections, from arcane and esoteric –The Art of Uzbek Cooking, A Taste of Syria, Icelandic Food and Cookery and the Old Havana Cookbook – to more mainstream subjects: All Along the Rhine, Cooking in the French Fashion and A Taste of Quebec. Want to know about food from Afghanistan, Burma or the Caucasus? Hippocrene has it!

For a fabulous tour of those parts of the food world that you may never visit, or perhaps never knew they existed, visit Hippocrene at their web site: www.hippocrenebooks.com.

 

 

 

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