The last twenty years has seen phenomenal growth of the availability of great food from around the world in local markets and restaurants. Used to be you couldn’t get, or even make, a decent taco in Boston. But all that has changed; we now have more food from different cultures readily available to us than ever before. And for those of us who want to recreate the home cooking of other countries in our own homes, New York Times columnist Mark Bittman has assembled over a thousand recipes for 44 countries in his latest cookbook, The Best Recipes in the World. Bittman is known for simplicity in his cooking (“I never use two ingredients when one will do.”) Rather than reproducing the haute cuisine of various cultures, Bittman has researched what would be considered standard fare in other countries – the food that people actually eat everyday. I knew when I saw a recipe for Japanese “Okonomiyaki”, an egg and cabbage pancake I loved from my time in Kyoto, I would like this book. The Best Recipes in the World is an excellent resource for any aspiring home chef, and a good partner for Mark’s earlier book, How to Cook Everything.
For more information about Mark Bittman, and a sample of some of the recipes in the book, see http://www.randomhouse.com/broadway/bittman/.