Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Soul of a New Cuisine

The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson

From Publisher's Weekly: Born Ethiopian, raised Swedish, and now one of New York City's top chefs, Samuelsson (Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine) has written an exotic yet accessible book that will hasten the coming of the African fusion cookery he envisions. His 204 recipes and 258 color photos are enriched with personal and political history; as in his many condiments and sauces, the balance is right. While he stresses the diversity and bounty of the second-largest continent, he repeatedly describes African cuisine as poor people's cooking, crafted with simple tools and necessarily emphasizing starches, vegetables and big flavors. Whether it's rosemary for Honey Bread or turmeric, ginger and cinnamon in his Vegetable Samosas, herbs and spices are always sauteed in oil or tossed in a hot dry pan, to intensify and mellow. He even proposes toasting the cinnamon for the whipped cream accompanying his Ethiopian Chocolate Rum Cake. The recipe for the cake is typical: the batter is prepared in a single bowl, mixed with a spoon, and bakes up moist and gingerbread-like, with great keeping properties. Toasting the cinnamon takes seconds and is impressive in the complexity it delivers.

Connie, an IAN mama about to travel: We received the most amazing cook book for Christmas. To even call it a cookbook is sort of an injustice. The recipes are amazing and remarkably simple, but the stories, photos and journalism about Africa are even more impressive. The author is Marcus Sameullson, an ET adoptee from Sweden and he now owns a number of successful ET restaurants in NYC. The book is called "The Soul of a New Cuisine". I haven't been able to put it down since we received it.

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