Saturday, February 15, 2014

Time-Life Qunitet of Cuisines: Summary

The  Quintet of Cuisines volume of the Time-Life Foods of the World series is such an odd grab bag of cuisines! Switzerland, Benelux, Poland, Bulgaria and Romania, and North Africa

Overall, I found it a disappointing book in terms of a description of the food and culture--too much about the writer and his gourmandizing lifestyle and not enough about the people. Oddly enough, the chapters about Eastern Europe were better because he hadn't been there and was basing he information on other sources, including the government. In the time this book was published, they were Communist countries, hence the travel restrictions.

The recipes, on the other hand, were fine and I have made a number of discoveries that are worth revisiting:
  • I like veal! It tastes like beef but it is milder, more tender, and more refined. My only experience with it before was as a schnitzel, which I still think is a terrible thing to do with such nice meat.
  • Flounder is a wonderful fish, with a sweet refined flavour and soft texture.
  • Rubbing fish with some lemon juice 15-30 minutes before baking is a very good idea
I wanted to make a recipe from each of the five cuisines, but have yet to to do Poland and North Africa. However, in the past I've made the Polish borsht with dumplings, Moroccan bastila (not very successfully), and numerous tagines. There are lots of good looking recipes in this book, so I will want to continue to dip into this volume. As I do, I'll update this blog to maintain a record.

  • Switzerland: Emincé de veau, Rösti , Zwiebelwähe (Onion and cheese tart)
  • Netherlands: Schol uit de oven (Baked flounder)
  • Bulgaria: Kiopoolu (Aubergine and pepper spread)
  • Romania: Ghiveciu National (Veal and vegetable Stew with grapes)