Monday, October 30, 2006

Taking Tea in the Medina by Julie Le Clerc Penguin Books

When did I last hold a book that was as beautiful an object as this? Probably the last collaboration of Julie Le Clerc and photographer John Bougen, Made in Morocco-A Journey of Exotic Tastes and Places which was published in 1994.

This new title is even more sumptuous and I must give accolades to the publishers for the high production values they have brought to this book. They have, of course, been given a huge headstart by the stunning photographs supplied by Auckland photographer John Bougen and by the author.

Julie Le Clerc is one of New Zealand's foremost food writers, this is her 11th title, she also holds down the somewhat iconic role of food editor for the NZ Woman's Weekly, and she is in demand as a food stylist, guest chef, and cooking demonstrator.

I am a big fan of hers because every recipe I have made from one of her books has worked for me. The recipes are always well-laid out, easy to follow with clear instructions that even someone like me who has come to cooking late without any training can follow and execute.

But this new book is a treasure and a must-have even if you don't ever make one of the hundreds of mouth-watering recipes. All the diversity and flavours and aromas of the Middle East rise up from the page to greet you. She takes us to Lebabon, Turkey, Jordan, Azerbaijan, and Egypt and along the way we meet whirling dervishes, visit caviar markets, tea houses, souks, we sail the Nile, and of course everywhere we share with her the most divine food.

This is a bit of a rave but for me it is that most winning of combinations, a meticulously researched, entertainingly written travel book combined with delicious recipes and the most gorgeous photographs.

I predict this is a book that will enjoy international success and will win awards and accolades for the author, photographer and publisher.

1 comment:

wyn ap said...

This is such a mouth-watering review that I've amazoned the book, sight unseen to a friend as a gift.
If he hates it, it will be Bookman Beattie's fault.