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Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Author: Najmieh Batmanglij

Hardcover: 640 pages
Publisher: Mage Publishers; 25th Anniversary Edition edition (March 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9781933823478
SBN-13: 978-1933823478
ASIN: 193382347X

Book Description

Completely redesigned for today’s generation of cooks and food enthusiasts, the 25th Anniversary Edition of Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremoniesby Najmieh Batmanglij (Mage; $54.95 640 pages); provides a treasure trove of recipes, along with an immersive cultural experience for those seeking to understand this ancient and timeless cuisine. This edition is a more user-friendly edition of the award-winning and critically acclaimed cookbook series which began in 1986. Food of Life provides 330 classical and regional Iranian recipes as well as an introduction to Persian art, history and culture. The book’s hundreds of full color photographs are intertwined with descriptions of ancient and modern Persian ceremonies, poetry, folktales, travelogue excerpts and anecdotes. The 2011 Edition of Food of Life is a labor of love. The book began in exile after the Iranian Revolution of 1979 as a love letter to Batmanglij’s children. Today, as accomplished adults in their own fields, her two sons, Zal and Rostam, encouraged her to redesign the book for their generation.

Food of Life propels Persian cooking into the 21st Century, even as it honors venerable traditions and centuries of artistic expression. It is the result of 30 years of collecting, testing and adapting authentic and traditional Persian recipes for the American kitchen. Most of its ingredients are readily available throughout the U.S. enabling anyone from a master chef to a novice to reproduce the refined tastes, textures, and beauty of Persian cuisine. Food-related pieces from such classics as the 10th century Book of Kings, and 1,001 Nights to the miniatures of Mir Mosavvar and Aq Mirak, from the poetry of Omar Khayyam and Sohrab Sepehri to the humor of Mulla Nasruddin are all included. Each recipe is presented with steps that are logical and easy to follow. Readers learn how to simply yet deliciously cook rice, the jewel of Persian cooking, which, when combined with a little meat, fowl, or fish, vegetables, fruits, and herbs, provides the perfect balanced diet.

The full-color Food of Life 25th Anniversary Edition contains 50% more pages than its 2009 predecessor and special added features:

*New Recipes adapted from Sixteenth-Century Persian cookbooks

*Added vegetarian section for most recipes

*Comprehensive dictionary of all ingredients

*A glance at a few thousand years of the history of Persian Cooking

*Master recipes with photos illustrating the steps.

*Color photos of most recipes with tips on presentation

*Updated section on Persian stores and Internet suppliers

*Fahrenheit and Centigrade temperatures for all recipes

*Choices for cooking recipes such as “kuku” in oven or on stovetop.

*Encourages use of seasonal and local ingredients from farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) sources or one’s own backyard

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post (March 2, 2011): "In exile," in America, she was quoted, "you become so much more conscious of your culture, and ours is so beautiful." She saw the book as a love letter to her sons, who she figured might never see the Iran she knew. Last year, Zal the filmmaker, 30, and Rostam the indie rocker, 26, encouraged her to update the book for their generation. {more of the article here at "Persian food guru updates master cookbook"}

Vogue (May 26, 2011): "This summer's most coveted tome...the saffron-scented pages of
which are guaranteed to create luscious new sense memories—
and inspire future dinner invitations.

Alice Waters (April 4,2011): "Divine cookbook...stunningly beautiful...cannot wait to put it to use!"

Los Angeles Times (March 29, 2011): "A classic cookbook made even better...Gorgeous expanded edition."

The Washington Post (March 2, 2011): "In exile," in America, she was quoted, "you become so much more conscious of your culture, and ours is so beautiful." She saw the book as a love letter to her sons, who she figured might never see the Iran she knew. Last year, Zal the filmmaker, 30, and Rostam the indie rocker, 26, encouraged her to update the book for their generation. So their mother added recipes and series of instructional photos, lots of tips and an expanded glossary of ingredients. She came up with vegetarian alternatives and substitutions, testing the 330 recipes at least three times each. The result: a handsome 25th anniversary edition supplemented with more stories of tradition, more poetry and Persian illustrations. Batmanglij was able to translate many 16th-century Persian recipes and bring them to life. "My other books have had my mother's recipes. These are my recipes," she says.

Library Journal (March 18, 2011): One can experience Persian cuisine without entering Iran—Persian American chef Batmanglij presents an outstanding and complete reference for Persian cooking and culture. Novice to expert cooks will appreciate the succinctly detailed ingredients lists and instructions to prepare rich Persian appetizers, soups, vegetables, meat, rice dishes, braises, desserts, breads, preserves, drinks, and snacks. The recipes—accompanied by tips, glossaries, and Persian-English/English-Persian ingredients translations—result in sumptuous dishes. Readers can glimpse the author's Iranian heritage from her personal anecdotes and short narrative of Persian history....Batmanglij's clear and detailed instructions will encourage cooks to prepare Persian meals.

Los Angeles Times: "The definitive book on Persian cooking: not just a recipe collection but a fond introduction to a culture and a fascinating cuisine."

The Washington Post: "A jewel of a book."

The New York Times: "Too delightful to miss."

Chicago Sun-Times: "A stunning cookbook."

USA Today: "A beautiful introduction to Persian cuisine and culture."

Booklist: "Modern Iranian cooking fits perfectly with today's lighter eating styles. Recipes are presented in an easily followed style."

World of Cookbooks: "Persian-Iranian cuisine can have no better introduction than this book."

The Toronto Star: "A fabulous new cookbook.... The glossy tome-an array of elegant recipes peppered with lavish color photos of food; Persian miniatures and artwork-is the result of 12 years of painstaking research."

Publishers Weekly: "Effectively weaves Iranian cookery with ancient Persian legends and poetry and descriptions of traditional ceremonies and holidays."

The Baltimore Sun: "[Mrs. Batmanglij] has been careful to keep the recipes authentic."

Middle East Studies Association Bulletin: "For those who find ethnic cookbooks a bit daunting and pretentious, here's one that holds true on what it promises, plus much much more.... suggests in book form what Babette's Feast and Like Water For Chocolate did through film.... this book will meet if not surpass your expectations."

 About the Author

NAJMIEH BATMANGLIJ, hailed as "the guru of Persian cuisine" by The Washington Post, has spent the past 30 years cooking, traveling, and adapting authentic Persian recipes to tastes and techniques in the West. The 25th Anniversary Edition of her book Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies was called "This summer's most coveted tome" by Vogue. Her Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey was selected as "One of the 10 best vegetarian cookbooks of the year" by the New York Times; and her From Persia to Napa: Wine at the Persian Table won the Gourmand Cookbook Award for the world's best wine history book of 2007. She is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier and lives in Washington, DC, where she teaches Persian and Silk Road cooking, and consults with restaurants around the world. Her most recent book is Happy Nowruz: Cooking with Children to Celebrate the Persian New Year.

Link for Further Reading: http://www.najmiehskitchen.com/nk_new_cookbooks.html#nfol

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