Brazil: A Cook's Tourby Christopher Idone
Clarkson Potter, 240 pp., $32.50
I have been fascinated by everything Brazil since I can remember, and my honeymoon seemed like the perfect excuse to finally pay a visit to the country of my dreams. In preparation for the trip, a group of girlfriends gave me this book, which chronicles the author's culinary journey through this amazing place. He explores the diverse regions and their different culinary influences, visiting their markets and kitchens, and compiling more than 100 authentic recipes from all over the country. The chapters read like a travel novel, and the gorgeous color photos really help transport the reader. Thanks to this book, I knew what to expect when it came to the unique fruits and traditional dishes characteristic of the state of Bahia. Bahian cuisine has a deep African influence and is largely based on seafood, since this Northeastern state has miles of coastline. The recipes in the book are easy to follow and very similar to those I collected personally from the very friendly Bahian cooks I met. Recipes like caipirinhas, the national cocktail made with limes and cachaça (a Brazilian liquor distilled directly from the juice of unrefined sugar cane), and moqueca de peixe, a fish stew flavored with coconut milk and palm oil, will cure my saudade (longing) to return to Brazil ... for now. The book includes a glossary with detailed explanations of ingredients and a mail-order source guide, as well as traveler's resources and places to visit in Brazil. A must for any adventurous cook or Brazil enthusiast.