One of my favorite ways to travel has always been through the kitchen — I may not get to Morocco or Sweden any time soon, but I can certainly cook like I'm there! In his latest book, Jamie Oliver packs us into his suitcase and takes us to some of his favorite food spots on the globe.
• Who wrote it: Jamie Oliver
• Who published it: Hyperion
• Number of recipes: Over 100
• Recipes for right now: Patatas Bravas, Artichoke Risotto, White Polenta with Beef Involtini, Split Pea Soup, Pikeperch and Roasted Beet Salad, Sexy Swedish Buns, Kefta (Lovely Meatballs), Simple Lamb Tagine, Gigantes Plaki (Greek Baked Beans), Radish Salad with Cured Duck, Savory Chestnut Crêpes
• Other highlights: Here's where you'll be traveling in this book: Spain, Italy, Sweden, Morocco, Greece, and France. I would definitely quibble with Jamie that this is hardly "around the world" but they're definitely good picks as far as the food scene goes. Each section of the book — each trip! — is filled with lush photos of not only the food of each region, but also the people, Jamie's always-entertaining exploits (bull-fighting in Spain!), and scenes of the countryside. It's hard not to feel a slight twinge of jealousy for not actually being there.
The recipes here are in Jamie's trademark style: simple and approachable. While these meals might have roots far from your dinner table, you'll definitely have no trouble finding the ingredients or cooking them at home. To my taste, the recipes feel a bit expected: we get paella and patatas bravas in Spain, risotto in Italy, tagines in Morocco and so on. None of them really stand out to me as particularly new or surprising.
This said, it's a solid collection of recipes — if you've been looking for some ways to branch out of your comfort zone and try out some new spices, this book would make a great start.
• Who would enjoy this book? New cooks, winter-weary cooks with cabin fever
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Jamie Oliver's Food Escapes by Jamie Oliver
• Visit the author's website: Jamie Oliver
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(Image credits: Emma Christensen)