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Posted November 19, 2000
The ultimate guide to a great cuisine
This is an exceptionally fine cookbook, for which Sonia Uvezian deserves the eternal gratitude of food lovers. Anyone seriously interested in Armenian food should own this groundbreaking classic written by one of the most knowledgeable experts in the field. The book offers hundreds of healthful and imaginative recipes (many of them previously unknown in the West). I have tried well over half of them, and all have turned out superbly. Uvezian's text is highly informative, her directions are wonderfully clear and easy to follow, and the ingredients called for are widely available. 'The Cuisine of Armenia' is a user-friendly guide for beginners and an indispensable reference for advanced cooks. It has long been considered the standard work in its subject area and should make Armenians even more proud of their heritage than they may already have been.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 20, 1999
A timeless classic
When I saw the first edition of this book, which was published in 1974, I thought that Sonia Uvezian had begun her food writing career in a manner in which most other cookbook authors would be happy to end theirs. Along with its lucid and informative text, The Cuisine of Armenia showcases a dazzling collection of flavor-packed recipes ranging from the traditional to the unusual, from the rustic to the sophisticated. The following is just a small sampling of my favorites: Filo Pastry Boeregs with Cheese Filling (the last bite always comes too soon!); Mussels Stuffed with Rice, Pine Nuts, and Currants (will make a dedicated mussel lover out of anyone); Red Pepper and Walnut Dip with Pomegranate (excellent served as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to grilled fish, poultry, or meat); Meat and Egg Rolls (a perfect picnic or buffet dish); Meat Soup with Vegetables and Herbs (Echmiadzin Bozbash) (if you can't make it to Echmiadzin, try this); Dumplings in Yogurt or Tomato Broth (Mantabour) (guaranteed to brighten a dreary winter day); Fruit Paste Dipped in Egg (delightfully original); Oysters in Tomato Wine Sauce (excellent and uncomplicated); Spitted Trout with Tarragon and Pomegranate (simple though hardly commonplace); Roast Chicken with Apricot and Chestnut Stuffing (splendid! Uvezian's own creation); Roast Turkey with Cinnamon-Glazed Apples (easy to make and impressive to serve); Broiled Skewered Pork with Pomegranate Syrup (one of the glories of Caucasian Armenian cooking); Harput Keufteh (deservedly famous and well worth the effort); Keufteh in Yogurt Sauce (a real winner that shouldn't be missed); Apples and Quinces Stuffed with Meat and Rice (Ashtarak Dolma) (a transcendant experience!); Baked Pumpkin Stuffed with Rice, Raisins, Prunes, and Apples (truly enchanting!); Saffron Rice Pilaf with Toasted Almonds and Sesame Seeds (elegant!); Fried Eggplant and Tomato Slices with Garlic Yogurt Sauce (a superb combination); and Yogurt Cream (another great Uvezian invention). Also, all of the savory pastries, pastas, breads, and desserts I have tried are knockouts. After countless memorable meals resulting from Uvezian's remarkably clear recipes, I can say with certainty that I was correct in my original assessment of this work. The Cuisine of Armenia is indeed a very great accomplishment. I should mention, however, that Uvezian's latest cookbook, Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen, is an even greater achievement. In addition to hundreds of fabulous recipes from Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, it contains a number of magnificent Armenian ones not found in The Cuisine of Armenia. The book also provides fascinating information on the important contributions Armenians have made to the cultural and economic life of the region, something that has been largely ignored by other food writers. For example, I was surprised to learn of the significant role Armenians have played in the culinary life of Aleppo, where the wheat and flour trades as well as the baking and sale of bread and pastry were virtually monopolized by them for nearly three centuries. The author further informs us that the city's world-famous Baron Hotel, whose dining room once featured wild boar, pheasant, and caviar, has been owned and operated by an Armenian family ever since it was built in 1909. The Cuisine of Armenia and Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen are masterly volumes that belong in the library of every serious food lover, Armenian and non-Armenian alike. I treasure them both and would give them six stars if I could. Highly, highly recommended!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.