This coffee-table book was on display at the local bookstore and it sparked my interest immediately, especially after I realized that the author was also co-owner of one of the finest Armenian restaurants in Beirut, Mayrig.
What I liked about the book:
- It is a cookbook with a soul; several Armenian gentle folks are portrayed with their life story recounting the terrible ordeal they lived through; the images in this book point out wide subdued landscapes, gnarled hands stretching cheese or dough, close-up shots of taro, flour or sausages being hung to dry and convey a meditative mood.
- The layout of the book is clean and extremely well-done; the recipes are very easy to follow and represent homestyle cooking with ingredients that are common in most supermarkets or available in Middle-Eastern shops throughout the world. This cuisine as an Eastern Mediterranean cuisine makes use of fresh and seasonal vegetables.
- The book is peppered with interesting side bars containing tips and anecdotes relating to the dish described.
- This is a very practical cookbook with comfort-style dishes that can be prepared on a weeknight as well as more elaborate ones such as the stuffed keufte in yoghurt soup for special occasions.
- This book focuses on Armenian cooking found in the area formerly known as Cilicia which is located in modern-day Turkey. There are no references to Armenia proper, which used to be part of the Soviet Union and is now an independent state.
- The book is high on feeling but the photos do not showcase the food adequately; most of the recipes show a thumbprint of the actual dish with the large images reserved to close-ups of ingredients or hand gestures. Some of the photos are close-ups of hands or gestures in motion which makes them look blurry.