Mark Bittman's food philosophy can be summarized in four words: "Shop locally; cook globally." Now, after teaching readers How to Cook Everything, he applies his wisdom on an equally grand scale in this giant, 760-plus-page cookbook. The Best Recipes in the World showcases more than a thousand meals from every corner of the world. In fact, 44 countries from Mexico to Japan are represented in this culinary United Nations.
Mark Bittman thinks big, as we saw in his Great Wall of Recipes, How to Cook Everything. That doorstop of a title sold big, too; there are now more than 1.7 million copies in print. This volume, in the same I-can't-believe-I-wrote-the-whole-thing vein, collects recipes from 44 countries. Bittman successfully avoids the usual suspects, drawing as heavily from places like North Africa (home of Harira, a satisfying soup traditionally used to end Ramadan fasting) and India (Marinated Lamb "Popsicles" with Fenugreek Cream) as he does from easy targets like Italy and France. The recipes are terrific in both their variety and execution. Bittman, who writes the New York Times's "Minimalist" column, has a steady authorial voice and a knack for offering clear instructions, and he smoothly makes the exotic seem easy, or at least familiar (e.g., he compares Moroccan Chicken B'stilla to chicken pot pie). The everything-in-one-place format works differently here than it did in his earlier book, which was, ultimately, about technique, not individual recipes, so while there are more than 1,000 recipes here, the reader doesn't acquire quite the same "take-away." Still, for one-stop-shopping on the world's cuisine, it'd be tough to find a better book. Agent, Angela Miller. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Bittman (How To Cook Everything) spent six years traveling the world to collect this book's impressive array of recipes, which come from more than 40 different countries. (Note, though, that here "international" means beyond the United States.) While French and Italian classics are included, Bittman aims to make Asian and other perhaps less-familiar cuisines accessible to home cooks. The shrimp recipes, for example, include Portuguese Shrimp in Green Sauce, Chinese Drunken Shrimp, Indian Blazing Hot Shrimp Curry, and Mexican Chile-Fried Shrimp; the sauce chapter is an abridged encyclopedia of international sauces, salsas, and condiments. Bittman notes that his versions are not necessarily authentic-he wanted to offer recipes that are practical and approachable for busy home cooks, so he streamlined or updated several dishes. Many of the recipes are quick to prepare, and timing is given for each one, with icons indicating which take less than 30 minutes, as well as those that can be made ahead and/or served at room temperature or chilled. There are numerous boxes on ingredients and techniques throughout, and a selection of menu suggestions concludes the book. Highly recommended. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"A brilliant project, a beautiful book, a must for any kitchen. Bravo Mark!"
—Lidia Bastianich, author of Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen and Lidia’s Family Table
"I know of only one person who could put together such a treasury of the best recipes in the world: Mark Bittman. The man is an encyclopedia of food and food knowledge and only Mark could compile a collection of such breadth and depth. And I am envious because I know Mark sampled every single one of these recipes."
—José Andrés, author of Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America and Bon Appétit's Chef of the Year for 2004
"The amount of research and recipe testing that went into compiling this cookbook is awe-inspiring. The end result is a brilliant anthology of world cuisine—global recipes that are delicious and, in the best Mark Bittman tradition, easily recreated at home with minimum fuss but maximum flavor."
"Mark Bittman is among our most important and influential food writers. I respect his work enormously, which is why I'm greatly looking forward to cooking from his new book, a collection of recipes that would take me a decade to discover on my own."
—Paula Wolfert, author of Mediterranean Cooking and Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco
"Mark gets Indian cuisine, and probably just about every other. He understands the world's home cooks and translates their spirit perfectly here."
—Suvir Saran, author of Indian Home Cooking