Thursday, 16 November 2017

Istanbul & Beyond | Robyn Eckhardt & David Hagerman


I was raised in a household in which French was the predominant language, and the cuisine was primarily Mediterranean...not surprising as Egypt's culinary roots were (and still are) influenced by Turkey...and to some degree, Greece, Italy and France. Ottoman Turkey and its antecedents ruled Egypt from 1517 to 1914, following the defeat of the Mamlukes, and its culinary influence is still pervasive to this day.

This, perhaps a convoluted way, explains the fact that I consider it as my "comfort" food; one with which my taste buds are very familial with, and one that reminds me of growing up in a household where Osta Hassan, the loyal family cook, would prepare for us aromatic kebabs, dolma, and imam bayaldi (the famous Turkish aubergines).

So it was with considerable pleasure that I received Istanbul & Beyond, a Turkish cookbook by Robyn Eckhardt & David Hagerman.


I haven't had the chance of meeting the two-time Saveur award winner Robyn Eckhardt, but I know David Hagerman, the travel photographer, from Foundry Photojournalism Workshops held in Manali (India) and Istanbul. 

Istanbul & Beyond is certainly a very well researched and crafted cook-photo book which introduces (or reminds) us of mouth-watering regional cuisines as well as life in the villages, cities, farms, and high pastures of the lesser-known provinces throughout Turkey. I read in one of the many kudos for this book that these recipes were gleaned over the past twenty years, as a result of traveling more than 13,000 miles along the backroads of Turkey. It certainly is best described as both a cook book and a travel photography book...so it has a place not only in the kitchen shelves but also on the coffee table.

Robyn and David are currently on a coast to coast book tour and appearances in late 2017 and early 2018, and the events program can be found here

Istanbul & Beyond was deservedly named as one of the best 34 cookbooks for the fall 2017 season by Epicurious.