Best “World” Cookbooks

For a culinary adventure, we're showcasing standout cookbooks featuring the tastiest recipes from around the world.

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The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook
Photo: Randy Mayor

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook   By Paula Wolfert, John Wiley & Sons, 2003. Hardcover. $35; 350 pages

Delicious things happen when you slow down: Flavors meld, and the cook can ease into a more leisurely pace. “Slow-cooking is relaxing and more forgiving,” Wolfert maintains, “since there’s usually a decent margin of error.” The approach doesn’t refer only to cooking in a slow cooker or slow oven. For Wolfert, the term also applies to braising, marinating, macerating, presalting, pickling, or even allowing bread to go stale.

The slow cooker does make its appearances, as in the intriguing Sephardic Long-Simmered Eggs, a recipe in which whole eggs go for 12 hours with a little olive oil, red onion skins, salt, and ground cumin. The result is unique and worth-it good: firm yet creamy yolks and whites with a beige color and subtle earthy flavor.

In Night-and-Day Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder, the meat cooks at least 12 hours and can go as long as 24. It’s fall-apart tender, moist, and succulent, a revelation among all those versions of slow-cooked pork. There are many more such treasures here—about 150 of them inspired by Wolfert’s travels in North Africa, Turkey, Greece, Spain, France, and the rest of the Mediterranean. All are designed for cooks who will trust in the method and dedicate good time to pulling the richest flavors from the deepest parts of meats, vegetables, and more. 

GIVE THIS TO: Cooks who love the rewards of a leisurely, handcrafted dish. —Adam Hickman


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