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Friday, May 29, 2015

The World on a Plate by Mina Holland



Release Date - May 26, 2015

Mina Holland
Penguin

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

When I was younger, we lived in city outside of San Francisco. I grew up in a home where we were asked to eat something and decide for ourselves if we liked it. There are very few things I will not eat. In fact, I've heard that the owners of a San Francisco Japanese restaurant loved when my parents would come in, because they could put any food in front of me and I'd generally love it. With that background, it's not surprising that I would absolutely love The World on a Plate. This is part travel guide, part cookbook, part memoir. It's amazing.

Throughout Mina Holland's book, she picks different countries around the world and talks about their culture, the foods they eat, the wines they drink, and the recipes that they use in their kitchens. The tour starts with France, probably my least favorite (though I still like French food) area in terms of cuisine. She moves on to places like Spain, Portugal, and even my Mom's home country of England. Some of these recipes I already have family favorites, but there are others, like the very easy Simple Tomato Sauce, that I can't wait to try.

There are so many other recipes that I can't wait to test out. Homemade Beef Pho (Vietnam), sign me up! I'd never heard of Africa's Gomen Stew, but once I read over the recipe, it went onto my list of foods that are being cooked this week. For Germany, I happened to make Braised Red Cabbage earlier this week, only the recipe I found uses a few slices of bacon diced up instead of olive oil and having cooked it, I don't think I would ever make it another way. For Sicily, the Peaches in White Wine caught my eye.

At the end of The World on a Plate are recommendations for cookbooks one should own. I was surprised not to see Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management listed. My Mom and her sisters all rely on this book for some standard recipes like Crumpets. If you've never had crumpets, you really need to try them. Think English Muffins with tiny craters to collect your melted butter and jam. As that is the only trivial thing I found disappointing with Mina Holland's cookbook/travel guide/memoir, I'd say it's a must-have for your kitchen.


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