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Ottolenghi - American Edition

Finally! Coming out in September. Available for pre-order at Amazon.

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  1. Are you going to buy a copy Pikawicca? I'm perfectly satisfied with my British copy.. what a wonderful cookbook author he is! He's the Master of ingredient combinations.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      I'm considering buying the American edition, simply to avoid having to do mental conversions from metric quantities. It's not a big deal, but it's a bit irksome. I agree completely that the man's a genius.

      1. re: pikawicca

        I would rally in DC if there were ever a bill for the US to convert to the metric system!

        My copy is on pre-order!

    2. I am debating whether or not to buy the book. I have Plenty and Jerusalem and love both. Is it different enough to justify shelve space? I have a few other books on my wish list too!

      6 Replies
          1. re: lilham

            Thank you, pica and lil, it is in my Amazon basket ... (sigh)

            1. re: LulusMom

              Thank you for the endorsement LulusMom! I should look at the COTM to see what people cooked and loved. I loved most of the dishes that I made out of Plenty and Jerusalem and didn't find the books repetitive at all. No reason to think that the original will disappoint. It is just that my shelves are overflowing and I took a bunch of books to my daughter's house and now her cookbook shelves are full. Maybe I should take a very critical look at my books: i.e. why am I keeping Silver Palate books when I have no desire to cook from them any longer? Hard to part with any, I am afraid...

              1. re: herby

                I definitely understand herby. That is where I am right now too, and funnily enough, Silver Palate is definitely one I'd be more than comfortable giving up. But mostly I need to give up some of my regular books (which I have loved but likely won't read again) and use the space for cookbooks, which by their nature, if good, will be used again and again. Anyway, I am a fan of Ottolenghi, and think in fact it is probably my favorite of their books, although that could just be because it was the first I used.

          2. I'm sticking with my original British edition. I love all 3 of his books.

            1. I have all three, bought at one time. I got excited . I had read a long adulatory article in Ha'aretz, the Israeli national newspaper about Ottolenghi. I like Arabic cooking a lot, particularly Lebanese style. I wanted them for New Zealand and cookbooks are very expensive there. So I ordered from England, three for the price of two in NZ even after shipping. What a deal, I didn't have to think. so I got them all. I started looking at them and thought, oy fey ist mir. Is there space on my coffee table? Also, O is gussying up the recipes so he can charge a lot for cheap ingredients.
              My suggestion. Its enough. Look through the offerings for something by Wolfert, David or Roden that you might like . I am not familiar with the work of the lesser known writers and would be interested in comment.

              10 Replies
              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                Many of us on the Home Cooking board own and have cooked Many recipes from all three Ottolrnghi books and have been impressed with the consistent favorable outcome of the recipes. In fact all three books have been Cookbook of the Month at one time or another. I don't understand your assessment of " gussying up the recipes so he can charge a lot for cheap ingredients". For the most part Ottolenghi's recipes are his own creation while paying homage to a specific region/country. As far as I've been involved a few of the ingredients we have had to buy to complete a recipe none has been "cheap".

                Other cookbook authors who have concentrated in the Mediterranean are, as you mentioned, Paula Wolfert, Elizabeth David, and Claudia Roden. Although my personal favorite is Roden all three have had much to contribute but Yotam Ottolenghi stands right there beside them.

                1. re: Gio

                  I live in Israel - most of the time- and I seek out Arabic restaurants. I love the salads. Meat cooking has its problems. Fish generally is prepared very simply.
                  Arabic cooking was exciting and a favourite before O and so it remains.

                  If you want to have O as part of your pantheon, you are entitled. As for me, I open one of his books and I see someone fascinated with himself prancing in front of a mirror.

                  What you call "recipes of his own creation" I call gussying up. I don't deny that his dishes are tasty, but it is not necessary and indeed sometimes not better to have so many ingredients in order to make something really good in this style. Nor to be narcissistic to write a cookbook. Nor to fill up so many pages with himself for which I am paying a lot of money. Nor to so displace and have so few recipes in such big and expensive books. But O is writing an experience rather than a cookbook and he gets on my nerves because I understand the fundamentals of the dish and I am not as interested in the story of O as he is and wants me to be. And I want a cookbook, and one that teaches a bit, not a photo book with an overactive food stylist.

                  The basic ingredients are often cheap. But you have to adjust for season, locale and how and where you buy. For example, foie gras is great (the present tense? its been a while and there has been recent goose legislation); foie gras is great and cheap in road side restaurants- in Israel. If you cook against the grain, if you don't have your finger on the pulse, ingredients will be expensive.

                  Perhaps I am too austere in my tastes and too plebian in my goals to fully appreciate an O.

                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                    If one Hound agrees with you, I'll be amazed. I've cooked plenty of Lebanese food in my time, and some of it is pretty involved.

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      pikawicca. I know. I go to "mixed" restaurants. The cooking in people's homes is at times from a different "cookbook".
                      jpr54-1 I know. O's partner-in-all is Arab.
                      Thank you for the recommendation.
                      I looked at the book on the internet. O and partner would do well to go to Gaza and broaden their horizons. Pride of place seems to go to "sumagiyya". What is this dish?

                      1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                        Sumagiyya is simply a stew, either beef or lamb, containing lots of vegetables, seasoned with cinnamon and other spices and LOTS of sumac. Personally, I like it, but it's a bit odd, in that it's served at room temperature.

                        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                          The cooking of what I will call the indigenous population of what is now the state of Israel, be they Jewish or Muslim or Christian, is very similar. I would not refer to the cooking of recent immigrants as "Israeli cooking." It is not. If I cook Hungarian food here in the States, it does not magically become "American cooking;" it's Hungarian.

                      2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                        You might enjoy The Gaza Kitchen.
                        O is an Israeli not an Arab

                        1. re: jpr54_1

                          I have and do enjoy The Gaza Kitchen. The food of the Middle East has little to do with ethnicity or religion, but is based on local ingredients.

                          1. re: pikawicca

                            It depends on what you mean by " the food of the Middle East." You are either right or very wrong. Which?
                            Israel has restaurants based on the ethnic cooking of refugees from all over the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans and beyond. The country is small, the same ingredients are available to all, the cooking is very different.

                          2. re: jpr54_1

                            jpr5-1 " O is Israeli not an Arab"
                            More than 1.7 million Arabs, mostly Muslim (Sunni), but also Christian and Druze, are citizens of Israel and are Israelis, together with Jews and many other minority ethnic groups and religions, totalling a bit over 8 million people.

                    2. heh heh

                      amazon.co.uk is awesome

                      1. sticking to my original editions as well!