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Greatest Dishes!: Around the World in 80 Recipes


Anya von Bremzen has traveled far and wide in search of the world's greatest flavors. Along the way she has gathered a definitive collection of classic recipes and a lifetime's worth of stories. Here the award-winning, globe-trotting food writer presents eighty of the world's best-loved dishes, from more than twenty-eight countries, an all-hits international food tour for cooks and readers everywhere.

No matter how far she travels or how many cookbooks she acquires, Anya ...

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2004 Hard cover New. No dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 368 p. Audience: General/trade. Cookery, International; Cooking; International; Non-Fiction; Regional & ... Ethnic NEW Read more Show Less

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Anya von Bremzen has traveled far and wide in search of the world's greatest flavors. Along the way she has gathered a definitive collection of classic recipes and a lifetime's worth of stories. Here the award-winning, globe-trotting food writer presents eighty of the world's best-loved dishes, from more than twenty-eight countries, an all-hits international food tour for cooks and readers everywhere.

No matter how far she travels or how many cookbooks she acquires, Anya observes that, like most cooks, she returns to the same recipes time and time again: pad thai, bouillabaisse, apple pie, couscous, gazpacho, risotto — the classics that we all know and love. In this book she sets out to find the best, most authentic recipes for these iconic dishes by collecting and perfecting dozens of recipes from the stoves of cooks the world over. Over time, Anya tested, revised, and honed these eighty classic recipes, allowing home cooks to recreate, at last, their favorite foods — with delicious results.

With these clear, accessible recipes at your fingertips, you don't have to go to Spain to get the best paella or to Italy for the best pizza or pesto — you don't even have to go to a lot of country-specific cookbooks. Accompanying the recipes are delightful, illuminating essays detailing the dishes' origins and how they are prepared and enjoyed today. Packed with historical information and portraits of the contemporary food culture of dozens of countries, the essays bring these eighty classics to life and are indispensable reading on their own. Whether you are a seasoned home cook, a world traveler, or an armchair adventurer,The Greatest Dishes! will provide you with unprecedented firsthand information about these emblematic foods, along with the legends, controversies, and passions they have inspired throughout history.

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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
[VonBremzen] discovers the heart and soul of many dishes. She offers a real reason to try each of the recipes.
Publishers Weekly
One of the more personally idiosyncratic cookbooks to come along in some time, the latest from von Bremzen (Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook) reflects her country hopping as a Travel & Leisure editor. As she journeys, she collects esteemed recipes and here arranges favorites from Apple Pie to Wiener Schnitzel, with stops for Hamburger and Peking Duck in between. She provides historical tidbits, notes on recipe influences and cooking tips. Her tastes stretch well beyond geographical boundaries. When it comes to meatballs, she turns not to Italy but to Shanghai for Lion's Head Meatballs. For cheesecake, she combines the richness of Paskha from her Russian childhood with New York's traditional cream cheese in Chocolate-Glazed Lemon Cheesecake. A BBQ fan, she includes both Memphis Barbecued Ribs and their Asian cousins, Korean Barbecued Short Ribs. Restaurant-inspired dishes feature Potato Gnocchi with Cauliflower Gorgonzola Sauce, derived from a dish at an obscure Tuscan trattoria; Classic Andalusian Gazpacho from a traditional eatery in Ronda, Spain; Lobster Rolls from Fore Street in Portland, Maine; and a simplified Rose Pistola Chocolate Budino Cake from San Francisco. Readers may disagree with her choice of what constitutes the world's top 80 dishes ( such as Chinese Stir-Fried Greens), but cooks will also discover new dishes and new approaches to old standbys. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Previously, Travel & Leisure columnist von Bremzen has written about Russian (Please to the Table), Southeast Asian (Terrific Pacific), and Latin American (Fiesta!) fare. Now she presents all her favorite recipes from her travels in one eclectic volume, a self-described "Gold List of the world's greatest hits." There are certainly classics like Feijoada (the Brazilian national dish), Creme Br lee, and Roast Chicken, but readers will also find idiosyncratic choices such as Laksa, "a rococo Malaysian-Singaporean slurpfest of noodles and seafood," and simple Chinese Stir-Fried Greens. Any compendium like this (see also David Rosengarten's Taste: One Palate's Journey Through the World's Greatest Dishes) is sure to trigger debate; what, for example, makes the Chocolate Budino from San Francisco's North Beach restaurant, Rose Pistola, the classic chocolate cake? Nevertheless, the title alone ensures interest. For most collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060197315
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/3/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 7.37 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Russian-born Anya von Bremzen is a contributing editor at Travel + Leisure magazine, where she writes about restaurants around the world. She is the coauthor of Please to the Table:The Russian Cookbook, which won a James Beard Award for Best International Cookbook, and of Terrific Pacific Cookbook. Her last book, Fiesta! A Celebration of Latin Hospitality, won her a second Beard Award. Von Bremzen contributes regularly to Food & Wine, and her articles have appeared in Gourmet, the Los Angeles Times, and Condé Nast Traveler. When not traveling, she lives in Queens, New York.

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First Chapter

The Greatest Dishes!
Around the World in 80 Recipes

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 4 to 6

Cook's Notes

This recipe, while luscious, is a little restrained; if like your mac and cheese extra gooey and are not calorie-conscious, increase the amount of Cheddar by either adding it to the sauce or layering the cooked macaroni and sauce with extra shredded cheese in the baking dish (really gooey). Beer adds a savory note that goes well with the Cheddar; if it seems too unorthodox, substitute 1/3 extra cup of milk.


1 2/3 cups milk
1/3 cup flat lager-style beer
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 to 10 ounces elbow macaroni
2 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, or more to taste
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, or more to taste
Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
Pinch of grated nutmeg Dash of Tabasco sauce, or more to taste
5 tablespoons fine white bread crumbs, sautèed in butter if desired


Preheat the oven to 450°F. and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and beer until almost boiling and take off the heat. (Don't worry if the beer curdles the milk a little.)

In another saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and sautè the onion until limp but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, and cook the roux for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk-beer mixture and cook, whisking, until the sauce is thick, smooth, and bubbly, 5 to 7 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water.

Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the Cheddar, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, mustard, pepper, nutmeg, Tabasco, and salt to taste. Taste and adjust the seasonings as you wish.

When the pasta is cooked al dente, about 6 minutes, drain and transfer it to an ovenproof casserole or gratin dish. Immediately pour the cheese sauce over it, mixing it in gently with 2 forks. Do no overstir. Sprinkle evenly with the bread crumbs and the remaining 4 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Bake until the top is golden and bubbly, about 12 minutes.

Caramelized Lemon Tart

Serves 8 to 10

Cook's Notes

This is my adaptation of Tamasin Day-Lewis's terrific recipe from The Art of the Tart, using my mom's delicious almond pastry. The top of this tart, you'll note, is caramelized with a blowtorch. You can caramelize the tart under a broiler, too, taking care not to burn the crust.

Almond Pastry

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup finely ground blanched almonds
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 to 3 tablespoons ice water


8 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Finely grated zest from 2 lemons
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, for caramelizing the top

Make the Almond Pastry: In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and almonds and pulse two or three times. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and, using two forks, stir in the egg yolk mixture. Gather the dough into a ball, sprinkling on the ice water if it doesn't quite hold together. On a lightly floured surface, flatten the ball into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (The pastry can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)

On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 14-inch circle. Transfer it to an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, press the dough into the sides of the pan, and trim the overhang. Refrigerate, covered with foil, for 20 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and, without removing the foil, fill the bottom with pie weights or beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and the foil, and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Cool slightly on the rack before filling. (The crust can be made up to one day ahead.) Set the oven temperature to 300°F.

Make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually, whisk in the cream, lemon juice, and zest. Set the tart shell on a baking sheet and carefully pour in three-fourths of the custard mixture.

Very carefully, transfer the baking sheet with the tart to the oven. With a ladle, pour in as much of the remaining custard as will fit without overflowing. Bake until the custard is just set but a little wobbly, as it will continue to set out of the oven. This should take 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for about 1 hour. Tent the tart loosely the foil and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Just before serving, sift the brown sugar from a small strainer evenly onto the top of the tart. Caramelize the top with a blowtorch, working in a circular motion. (If you don't have a blowtorch, cover the edges of the pastry carefully with foil and broil the tart about 4 inches from the source of heat until the top is bubbly and caramelized, about 10 minutes.) The tart can be served warm or at room temperature.

The Greatest Dishes!
Around the World in 80 Recipes
. Copyright © by Anya Von Bremzen. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2004

    Fantastic Food Personality

    With gusto, I recommend this cookbook to anyone who has a prediliction for exploring international flavors. Anya's vibrant personality shines through, taking a fascinating tour through her life and the colorful people and villages she has dined in. Recreating the sort communal experience that cooking and eating is in each recipe's narrative, it's almost as if you are standing in the original spot the author stopped to take down the recipe for her book. I'm terribly jealous, and insanely hungry.

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