This was sent to me by Bloomsbury at no cost. It appears to already be out overseas, but the Bloomsbury website says it’s out in mid July in Australia. RRP $33.99.
I love a cookbook with a ribbon.
This is a lovely book. I got a hardback version; as you can see, the front cover is gorgeous. I’m a bit torn because the inside cover is also gorgeous, blue with gold writing.
There are photos throughout, not quite of every recipe but close. While I know all of them are staged, they’re not so pretentious as to make me depressed. Each recipe is presented with a little story or explanation in italics to the side, and the recipes are all straightforward to follow.
As well as recipes, Khan presents stories about Iran itself, and some of the people she met during her travels. These are geographical, with sections of Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz, and Tabriz, for example. Khan doesn’t take the current fashion for Persian food for granted, with an introduction that talks a bit about Iranian culture (she alternates between Persian and Iranian, and explains why at the start of the book) and – admittedly generic – attitudes to food. Plus, and this is something that I really like, there’s an opening discussion of the “The Persian store cupboard”. She given an alphabetical run-down of everything from barberries to yoghurt, explaining their taste and their uses (I’d never heard of golpar before and it’s proving difficult to find). I ALSO really like that she ends this section with the recommendation to “do as the Iranians do and use your taste buds and your eyes to determine which direction a dish should go.” The direction to “just enjoy the process of cooking something new” makes her my new cooking BFF.
Finally, the book ends with a section called Planning a meal (ok, there is also an index, but whatever). Iranian New Year? Persian Picnic? Vegan Feast? Easy weekday suppers? Got you covered.
So, yes, I think it’s clear that this book is a winner. Stay tuned tomorrow for discussion of the actual recipes.