Monday, August 06, 2007

A Delightful Sampler of Recipes from Around the World

STREET FOOD by Tom Kime

This cookbook is a charming if quick look at the recipes of street vendors all over the world. Laid out with DK Publishing's customary focus on photography and clean style, the recipes and prose are highlighted in a way that literally made my mouth water (and that is not enviable when one is reading at 11:00 at night with no way to get Spiced Grilled Chicken with Coconut Cream!).

Author Tom Kime had the enviable task of traveling the world to choose the best of the best, eating his way through the streets of India, Sri Lanka, the Caribbean and more. The result is a collection of recipes are that are both savory and simple. I especially enjoyed the Indian and Southeastern Asian recipes, but my mouth is wired that way. I have the Potato and Cumin Curry and Crispy Paratha (stuffed with scallions, ginger, cilantro, and jalapeno) marked to try. Even though the Southern Europe recipe selection was not what I usually think of (showing just how varied the recipes are), the Pan Fried Red mullet with Preserved Lemon, olives, and Parsley also is marked as a must try. Of the recipes that were of sorts that I already have made from other sources, most notably the Vietnamese and Thai selections, Kime's recipes looked not only authentic but streamlined enough to make me contemplate them for the near future. He accompanies these recipes with journal entries that put the recipe in context of his travels. I could have done with more of this but I love to read about travel as much as food so that is a personal inclination more than a criticism.

Two features I really liked in this book were the Recipe Navigator, which helps sort our unfamiliar foods in categories such as "Best in a bowl," "Finger food," A meal in itself," and the extensive menu ideas in such categories as Barbecue, Leisurely Lunch, or Cozy Night In.

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