Istanbul Cult Recipes

This is the book I haven’t been able to mention on the podcast! And now I can!

This was sent to me by the publisher, Murdoch Books, at no cost. It’s available now; RRP $49.99.

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The book itself

is a lovely object. My copy is a hardback and the image on the front is delightful; the bits that look yellow in the pic to the left are actually gold. It’s a hefty tome, with about 250pp of recipes and good thick covers.

The book is divided into several sections: At the Kahvalti Salon (breakfast); The Meyhane Table (meze and fish); Lokanta, Kofteci, Kebabci (soups, meats and rice); At Home (family recipes); Street Food; and Turkish Delights (sweet things). It’s an intriguing division, especially that central set of chapters, because they don’t correspond to meal times as other books often do. Instead it’s more about the style of food, which I quite like, once you’ve got your head around how to look for particular sorts of food.

The other intriguing aspect of the book is that it’s not just recipes. It’s not even just recipes plus stories about the people. No; Larmoyer is toying with the reader/cook and may be in cahoots with the Turkish tourism board because each chapter also has a double spread on where to go in Istanbul in order to eat. There’s a map and a list of the best places to go for different specialities. Which… seems a bit cruel, really. But at least the book provides recipes to help those of us who can’t up and run to Istanbul at a moment’s notice.

The book is replete with pictures of both the food mentioned and the places where it’s bought and made. The recipes are laid out across a single page, with a story or tip for each one; pretty much all have at least one photo accompanying the recipe. A lot of these photos look quite domestic – I’m sure a lot of thought went into styling them to get the effect, but I do find it reassuring to see a photo, when flicking through the book, that doesn’t look too enormously different from what would be possible in my own kitchen! (Except for the pictures of producing epic quantities of baklava. EPIC.) The ingredients are listed in bold type, which I like, and so far they seem straightforward to follow.

As a book, this is a very attractive object. Find out tomorrow what I thought of the recipes! (… eh, spoiler: they’re good.)

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