Miles Collins Home
[ View menu ]

The Silk Road Gourmet Cookbook

A review of the Silk Road Gourmet Cookbook and my choice for the best food and travel cookbook of the year….

The only time I ever review a cookbook is if I like it and think you should all know about it, I don’t throw praise around because it can come back to haunt you which is why book reviews and other blog reccomendations tend to be few and far between on here. For what it’s worth I have been collecting cookery books since I started my career as a chef twenty five years ago and despite having spent an unimaginable amount on them over the years there are very few I would actually consider buying again. That to me is the true test of a product, would you buy it again?

Laura Kelley has written a book I would buy again in an instant, she has written the kind of book I would love to be able to write. Food, travel and all things Asian combine to bring us volume one in a series of books detailing the food, culture and history of this wonderful continent. I have waited a long time for this book, having been a keen follower of Laura’s blog called The Silk Road Gourmet for a long time I knew Laura was capable of producing a book which could put her wonderful writing onto bookshelves around the world. Anyone who has read Laura’s blog will know that she writes with great intelligence, authority and a real love for her subject.

Volume one of the series begins with a part of Asia seldom covered in the mainstream of culinary writing, the West and the South. The journey takes in the countries and cuisines which are steeped in history and whose very traditions have quietly transended into other people’s cultural makeup through centuries of trading and exploration. This book offers a thoughtful, intensely researched insight into the cuisines of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It demonstrates how the spice routes of those earliest of traders helped to shape each countries food and how remarkably similar many of the methods and use of ingredients are.

The choice of dishes is considerable, for the keen amateur cook or the professional chef it offers a new and inspiring diversion from well trodden paths, spice and flavour notes jump out from the pages and transport you to those places we rely on the more dedicated to tell us about. Take Georgia, we are given a brief overview of the main spices and flavours indicitive of the country, fenugreek, saffron, sour cherries, oranges, lemons, savory, allspice, pommegranates and marigold, there are recipes for garam masalas from Pakistan and curry powders from Sri Lanka as well as comparrisons of spice mixes between different countries which show how close our culinary borders actually are.

Take your time with this book, it’s not just a collection of recipes but if it’s a quick dish you are after then each recipe takes between fifteen and thirty minutes to prepare. Go straight to Laura’s own favourites if you can’t decide, meatballs in lemon sauce, lamb chops in sweet and sour pommegranate sauce or orange-chicken koresh with almonds, pistachios, cinnamon and cardamom.

We live in a society which thrives on telling us how crappy everything is so when a piece of work such as this becomes avaliable we should recognise one person’s huge labour of love and commitment to sharing their knowledge with the rest of us. Buy this book.

How to buy The Silk Road Gourmet Cookbook

Avaliable from the end of June 2009 it will be avaliable on the internet through Amazon and Barnes and Noble followed by general release throughout the Summer.
Here are the following ISBN’s:

Soft Cover 9781440143052
E Book 9781440143069
Hard Cover 9781440143076
Blog: silkroadgourmet.com

Silk Road Gourmet Cookbook

6 Comments

  1. greedydave says:

    Miles,
    This sounds fabulous. I seriously don’t have a clue about the food of most of the countries that Laura covers in her book, but I want to find out. Food writing that open doors to other worlds like this simply must have great background, narrative and history and from your description it sounds like Laura’s nailed it. I’m hot-footing over to her blog right now.

    GDave

    June 1, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

  2. miles says:

    GDave,
    It’s well worth a read, you’ll see from Laura’s book the quality of writing that you can expect to get.

    Miles

    June 1, 2009 @ 10:12 pm

  3. Melissa says:

    Miles,

    I’m addicted to books of any kind, but cookbooks are my absolute downfall. I will anxiously await the end of June and employ my one-click ordering on Amazon.com. Because of the economy, I’ve been trying my hardest to steer clear of my “shopping cart” at Amazon, but Laura’s book looks well worth it and after a quick shuffle around her blog, I know I’ll like it.

    Can’t wait and thanks so much for tipping us off! Very nice review, Miles!

    Melissa
    P.S. Now, slow down with the blog posts, will you please? I’m so far behind as it is. And now with GDave’s blog, I’m going to have a hard time keeping up. Thank goodness Cid hasn’t started one, I’d have to quit working altogether. Although, Cid, you’d make a fantastic blogtress.

    June 1, 2009 @ 10:22 pm

  4. miles says:

    Melissa,
    It’s most likely to be more readily avaliable in your neck of the woods to begin with.
    Saying that I am presuming that it will be released in the US before Europe and the rest of the world.
    I might be wrong but I doubt it :mrgreen:

    Miles

    June 1, 2009 @ 10:33 pm

  5. Laura Kelley says:

    Miles:

    Many, many thanks for the kind review.

    Based on your positive but spare feedback on the ms - your review greatly exceeds my expecations!

    Thank you!

    Laura Kelley

    P.S. I like all the posts - but I LOVE the recent one on Stephen Fry as a LZ fan!

    June 2, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

  6. miles says:

    Laura,
    You’re welcome! Stephen Fry is a legend isn’t he?

    Miles

    June 2, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

RSS feed Comments

Write Comment

XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>