The exotic made approachable
"it begins with rice. As it always has."
-- from the Prologue to "Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories" by Naz Deravian
I've always loved the flavours of Middle Eastern food. From creamy hummus smeared on pita bread to all of those wonderfully fragrant spices, the cuisine of that part of the world has always pulled me toward it, empty plate ready to be filled with whatever is on offer. So, when I received a copy of Bottom of the Pot to review, I was thrilled.
Even before I read one word of this book, I was immediately struck by how absolutely beautiful it is! From the deep blue colour and tantalizing cover image and carrying through every interior page, the photography and design in this book make it one of the prettiest I've ever seen. Seriously - this could easily be a coffee table book.
But then you get into the recipes themselves and things get even better.
Bottom of the Pot Is absolutely full to the brim of everything you'd need to know to share a beautiful Persian meal with your family. There are recipes for every course here, including:
-- Summer Squash Yogurt Dip
-- Sour Cherry and Feta Crostini
-- Barley and Lentil Soup
-- Butternut Squash Soup
-- Dill Rice
-- Oven-Baked Pirashki
-- Stuffed Meatballs
... and so many others, from appetizers to desserts. Each recipe is titled with its Persian name and an English translation.
We tested the Butternut Squash Soup on page 89:
This soup was out-of-this world delicious! A tasty mix of squash, fragrant spices, and a few other simple ingredients. (Note: For the purposes of this photo, I topped it with some pumpkin seeds, too, and I highly recommend you do the same. It adds a nice texture. Although I can tell you for sure the soup is delicious without them, too). This recipe is home cooking at its best: simple, fresh ingredients that combine to make comforting family food. That's the premise behind every recipe in this book, I feel. It's about getting the family back to the table, sharing a meal and sharing stories. Throughout the book, author Naz Deravian welcomes us into her home and her life through her beautiful storytelling, making this so much more than a cookbook.
Whether you are well-versed in Persian cuisine or not, I know you'll find something to love in this book.
About the Author:
Naz Deravian is an Iranian-born writer and actor. She grew up in Italy and Canada, and now makes her home in California with her husband and two children. Her award-winning food blog, Bottom of the Pot, is widely recognized and respected in the culinary world.