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Turkish Cookbook, The
Regional Recipes and Stories
Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman; photography by Juliana Spear

published 2010 • 9” x 10 ¼” • 347 pages • full-color photos
ISBN 9781566568180 • paperback • $25.00

"Culinarians have long debated the world's major root cuisines and commonly settle on Turkish, Chinese, and French, sometimes including Italian. Ilkin and Kaufman (coauthors, A Taste of Turkish Cuisine) argue that while the other cuisines center on one basic element (e.g., French is based on sauce and Italian, pasta), many ingredients share the focus in Turkish owing to the country's geographic location. Here, the recipes are divided into seven regions and include mezes, soups, pilafs, and boereks with ingredients like tahini, eggplant, legumes, halloumi, sumac, and Aleppo peppers. Novices will appreciate the details like exact temperatures and explanations of ingredients' cooking characteristics... Verdict: An ingredient glossary, 200-plus recipes, and a shopping guide covering major U.S. regions round out the good instruction and revealing narrative detailing one of the world's most influential cuisines. Recommended."
—Library Journal

“This eye-catching cookbook’s full-color illustrations only enhance the engaging text, which thoughtfully lays out the differences in cooking styles among Turkey’s several regions.”

More Reviews »

Healthful and tantalizing, simple and delicious, Turkish cuisine is well on its way to becoming the next big trend in cooking as more and more attention is being paid to it as the original Mediterranean diet

Turkey has made an enduring contribution to the world’s cuisine with its diverse and important gastronomic history and classic—simple yet rich in flavors—recipes. Turkish cuisine is a colorful mosaic, enriched by the recipes and techniques of many ancient cultures—Phoenician, Hittite, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, Chinese, and Greek—and the creativity of the cooks and the geography of the regions they lived in.
Inspired by the best of regional cooking, this unique and masterful collection of recipes shares a rediscovery of timeless authentic, healthful, refreshing, and easy-to-prepare Turkish dishes—from classics to lesser known family favorites, and even lost recipes. Written with a zest for food and culture, this book is packed with the delights of Turkey’s regions, from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, from Europe to Asia, the Aegean to Anatolia.

Using only the healthiest and freshest ingredients—from fresh fruits and yogurt to vegetables, fish, poultry, and meat—the regional recipes are cooked in an infinite variety of ways, with exciting flavor and texture combinations. Eggplant alone can be prepared in more than 40 different ways. In areas where fish, meat or poultry weren’t available, cooks created outstanding recipes that utilized grains, pulses, and vegetables. Since Turkish cooking requires no special equipment or unusual ingredients it is generally very easy to prepare.      

Nur Ilkin is a food writer, cooking instructor and co-author of A Taste of Turkish Cuisine. She learned the secrets of Turkish cooking from her grandmother, but it was as a Turkish ambassador’s wife that she perfected her culinary skills while entertaining diplomats and dignitaries in Athens (1970-1973), Moscow (1973-1975), London (1977-1981), Islamabad (1987 -1990), Copenhagen (1990-1993), The Hague (1996 - 1998), Washington, D.C. (1998-2001), and New York (2002-present).

Sheilah Kaufman
is a food writer, lecturer, cooking instructor and author of 26 cookbooks. Recognized as an expert on entertaining, Glamour magazine noted: “If you like to entertain, Sheilah’s cookbook, should be your best friend.” For 40 years she has shared her passion for ethnic cuisines by lecturing and giving cooking demonstrations across the nation. A founding charter member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, she has written for numerous magazines and newspapers, including Vegetarian Times, The Washington Post, Tampa Tribune, and the Baltimore Sun. She is the food editor for Jewish Women International and the author most recently of Simply Irresistible: Easy, Elegant, Fearless, Fussless Cooking and Upper Crusts: Fabulous Ways to Use Bread.

Juliana Spear is a Massachusetts-based art director and freelance photographer. Her work is featured in Café Life Paris, Romantic Paris, Steeped: In the World of Tea, and Café Life New York.

Media Reviews

"To give a sense of the country as well as its recipes, authors Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman have organized their book regionally. Their recipes are clearly described, and the color illustrations highlight the dishes as well as the landscapes and cityscapes of Turkey. These pictures make this volume pretty enough to sit on a coffee table — but keen cooks, enticed by the recipes, will certainly carry it off to the kitchen."
—Amherst Bulletin

"Ilkin, food writer and wife of the former Turkish Ambassador, and veteran cookbook author Kaufman reunite for this sequel to A Taste of Turkish Cuisine to give fans a rich and varied collection of over 200 regional dishes. Each of the country's seven regions is presented as a cookbook-within-a-cookbook; recipes follow a short overview of the area's history and culinary highlights. This makes for an engaging read... fans of Turkish cuisine will delight in a veritable feast: multiple kebabs, pilafs, koftas, and mezze (appetizers) ensure that cooks have plenty of options when planning a meal. And modern riffs like Chickpea Ravioli sit comfortably alongside Ottoman Army Stew, a recipe dating back to the eponymous empire. Anyone unable to procure seemingly omnipresent Aleppo pepper, the complex smoky undertones of which are crucial to many dishes, or other key ingredients will find a helpful list of sources in the shopping guide, though the vast majority of recipes call for easily-sourced ingredients."
—Publishers Weekly

"What is most valuable about Ilkin and Kaufman’s recipes is the wisdom of the proverbial 'tasty hands,' expertise from skilled cooks, that they share...From elegance to simplicity, there is a Turkish dish for every meal and occasion. And as Ilkin and Kaufman show, each one has a storied history that adds real savor."
—Claudia Kousoulas, Appetite for Books

"'The Turkish Cookbook: Regional Recipes and Stories' by Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman is a total trove of great ideas for making vegetables stars. As the cover indicates, it does not flinch from meat, and meat is integral to the Turkish kitchen. But what appealed to me were all the spreads and salads and pastas and boereks."

"It is always a pleasure to find another cookbook that explores Turkish cuisine on the market. Turkish cuisine is so varied and rich – much of it is still unknown outside of Turkey. Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman‘s 'The Turkish Cookbook: Regional Recipes and Stories' (Interlink 2010) is an important addition – and a lovely cookbook. It focuses not on Ottoman cuisine and restaurant Turkish cooking, but on regional cuisine and home cooking. 'The Turkish Cookbook' will expand your ideas of Turkish cooking – and remind you just how inventive it can be."

"Turkish cuisine is said to be one of four global greats, along with French, Italian and Chinese. It's colorful and healthful: the original Mediterranean diet. Turks gave the world yogurt, an impressive array of kebabs, and side dishes with ingredients most urban Americans can get their hands on...So why don't we know it better? ... Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman have their theories about why that is so; in the meantime, the longtime friends are producing cookbooks that might put Turkish food on more American tables."
—Washington Post


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