Sheila Lukins all around the world cookbook
by Shelia Lukins
Publisher Workman Publishing Company; illustrated edition edition (January 5, 1994)
ISBN 10: 1563052377
ISBN 13: 978-1563052378
It’s weird. I’ve had this book laying out for while because I had planned to eventually review it. I’ve seen it subliminally as part of the furniture for about a month now.
It’s been a little while since I posted a review and so yesterday, when I had an unusually early day off in the week, I decided to catch up a little. I actually looked at the book and considered doing it, but decided to do another book. It was the first time that I had actually looked at the book and actively considered picking it up and reviewing it since I pulled it out over a month ago.
It wasn’t a couple of hours later that I got the word that Lukins had died.
So, to the book itself.
It’s a nice roundup of food from around the world, gathered during a year year world journey by Ms. Lukins. There’s nothing earthshaking in terms of uncovering secret local cuisines – I mean, harissa isn’t exactly a secret, right? But it’s a handy volume to grab if you’re stuck for a menu item or a theme for a dinner.
It’s a large and breezy volume that avoids a lot of pedantry (like the kind you find on this very blog!). It’s the result of a publisher sending a food writer around the world to build a specific book, and, as such, it’s a pretty personal view of what a middle-aged upper-middle class lady might experience from a cuisine standpoint. She ain’t no Zimmer or Bourdain, but that doesn’t make this nice bit of compendium any less useful, with some caveats of course.
There’s concise information on beers, wines and alcohols of the world in the book and background information on the different cultures. And there are some unusual recipes, such as a Chilean Quinoa Tabouleh, a grain salad usually more associated with the Mediterranean and the Middle East, not south America. And the substitution of quinoa (please pronounce this KEEN-wah) for bulgar wheat is a nutritional upgrade. The salad even adds avocado and sweet corn. This is Lukin’s own fusion of two disparate continents; it’s not an indigenous dish. You’ll find quite a few recipes like this, so, when you read this book, realize that it’s not just a collection of local recipes. there a lot of recipes “inspired” by locales. and there’s very little “authentic” about most of the recipes. They are tailored to American tastes. kitchens and markets.
This is a handy, if not particularly indispensable, book to have available when you need a little inspiration. Just don’t mistake it for a “reference work”.
PS, yes the title is exactly as reproduced at the top of the page. No possessive apostrophe and all lower case letters (at least according to The Library of Congress listing).