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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Nirmala's Edible Diary: A Hungry Traveler's Cookbook with Recipes from 14 Countries » User review

A delightful culinary journey through South America

  • Mar 15, 2010
  • by
Part travelogue, part cookbook, Nirmala's Edible Diary is a culinary adventure into fourteen South American countries. Guyanan born author Nirmala Narine offers selections of the diverse origins of the cuisine of South America and her own family. Owner of a New York spice company and the author of two cookbooks, Ms. Narine excels in storytelling and bringing adventure to culinary art. Her book lists an easy to search Table of Contents, an Introduction, a section describing the more unusual ingredients-how to find them and what the cook can use to substitute if not available.

Her culinary journey begins with the country of her birth-Guyana, and she offers a Guyanese menu that includes Pan-fried Green Plantain Cakes, Short Ribs and Pork Butt Pepper Pot Soup and more (be sure to check out the Cinnamon Beignets). The next stop is Peru with delights such as Quinoa Turkey Meatloaf and a Peruvian potato salad.

Each culinary stop offers details about the country, a selection of simple and authentic recipes, lovely color photos of recipes, market place attractions and more.

Ms. Narine doesn't call herself a chef, but rather a woman who loves to cook. The directions are easy to understand, the recipes simple yet varied. There are beverages, entrees and desserts from all regions. I was especially taken with the chapter on the Falkland Islands with its Baked Curry Fish and Chips and Lamb and Rutabaga Cottage Pie, both variations on British comfort food. (Did you know there are more than 200 islands, often referred to as the Maldivas by Argentinians but mostly inhabited by ex-pat Brits?).

The layout of the book makes it easy to navigate-each country's chapter has unique colored end paper designs. The 263 pages are a thick, high-quality paper; the volume is nicely hard bound, and there's an alphabetical index in the back. Best of all, the recipes sound really good. I'm looking forward to trying the Curry Fish and Chips which has a yummy panko breading with the added flavors of curry, lemon and minced ginger.

I give this book two flour-dusted thumbs up for content and layout.

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More Nirmala's Edible Diary: A Hung... reviews
review by . April 15, 2010
There are two kinds of cookbooks. Those that are used often, by you and even your family and get dog eared and you have to tape them so the pages won't fall out. And then there are those coffee table cook books that you look at, imagine the flavors, enjoy the pictures but never really use a recipe. This book falls more into the latter category, it is definitely a coffee table type of book but I won't go even as far as calling it a cookbook. It really reads more like a travelogue with some recipes …
review by . March 24, 2010
Having grown up in Mexico I was excited when I saw this book. "Recipes from my Southern neighbors," I thought. Unfortunately I was disappointed. The book is beautiful (National Geographic-like) to thumb through. I really enjoyed the design, colors, and the pictures (though it was deficient in pictures of food). Overall there was a small selection of recipes from the various countries and only a few of the recipes were appealing. After looking at the ingredient lists of the recipes that were appealing …
review by . March 04, 2010
Let me start of by saying this is a very colorful and pretty book. That being said I think that most of the recipes in this book would be odd to most people from the United States. I honestly only found about 5-6 recipes in this book that I even found interesting. Some of the alcoholic drink recipes are decent. The baked curry fish & chips and crispy polenta chicken fingers are interesting but that's about it. I will admit that I am a bit picky but I would still only recommend this book if your …
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Suzanne Barrett ()
Ranked #115
A former facility engineer and Kensington author, Suzanne believes in sharing stories of romance and adventure spiced with a bit of mystery and intrigue. Suzanne and her husband live in the Santa Cruz … more
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About this book


Join "The Indiana Jones of Spices," Nirmala Narine, as she eats her way from Rio to Buenos Aires, capturing the tastes and smells of South America in recipes and photos. Millions of tourists visit this part of the globe every year, drawn by ancient ruins, vibrant cities, breathtaking natural beauty, and diverse foods and cultures.Nirmala's Edible Diaryis a passport to the street markets and home kitchens of South America, with over 70 recipes for tantalizing stews, crunchy empanadas, and fruity desserts, and 100 vivid photographs of the foods, people, and landscapes that make this continent a stunning travel destination.
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ISBN-10: 0811869067
ISBN-13: 978-0811869065
Author: Nirmala Narine
Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine
Publisher: Chronicle Books
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