To the uninitiated, "Eastern European cuisine" calls to mind a bleak, unappealing spread of heavy, colorless dough, unappetizingly pickled fish and flavorless broths: gulag fare. Not so! Eschew these Dr. Zhivago motifs, because the popular Bulgarian-born London chef, Silvena Rowe, brings out the fresh, delicious and unexpected aspects of Central and Eastern European cuisines. If I could, I would eat only Georgian food (as in, the Republic of Georgia): handfuls of fresh herbs, unexpected savory treatments of fruit (dried and fresh), walnuts in everything and pomegranates to round things off. The cuisine of Central Europe has absorbed the Turkish influences of piquant eggplant, feta, and peppers to original, flavorful effect. The book is brimming with photos of cottage preserves and Georgian street vendors. For autumnal revelry, I recommend the eggplant stacks with feta and pumpkin (page 108) and the pomegranate, pumpkin and lamb stew (page 42). And if you're waxing nostalgic for Dr. Zhivago, there is a dumplings chapter.

The Eastern and Central European Kitchen: Contemporary & Classic Recipes Cover Image
By Silvena Rowe, Jonathan Lovekin (Photographer)
$29.95
ISBN: 9781566566704
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Interlink Books - March 1st, 2007

The Eastern and Central European Kitchen: Contemporary & Classic Recipes Cover Image
By Silvena Rowe, Jonathan Lovekin (Photographer)
$20.00
ISBN: 9781566566780
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Interlink Books - October 1st, 2008

Though implausible, the most chortlingly funny book I’ve read in years is about graduate school. Elif Batuman’s story-telling is disarming and her relentless enthusiasm for books is contagious. In the seven essays of The Possessed: My Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $15), Batuman, a Turkish-American, recaps her immoderate enamorment with Russian literature and how this love leads her to Stanford’s Comp Lit department and a cohort which she likens to the spiraling madness of Dostoevsky’s Demons (a k a The Possessed). Her love also takes her farther afield, to a mystifying summer in Samarkand studying Old Uzbek epics; to an International Tolstoy Scholars Conference and suspicions of foul play; and to the Neva River to investigate the curiously sinister backstory of an ice palace for The New Yorker. Familiarity with Babel and Bakunin aren’t prerequisites; Batuman’s book is a clever treatise on the reasons we read.

The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780374532185
Availability: Backordered
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - February 16th, 2010

A New Literary History Of America (Harvard Univ., $49.95) is an immense critical achievement. The more than 200 essays commissioned by the editors, Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors, capture the plurality of American historical and cultural experience in all its complexity, fluidity, and contradiction. The editors broadly and flexibly interpret “literary,” applying the term not only to texts and authors, but to cultural moments and ideas. A stadium-sized roster of essayists, including Jonathan Lethem, Arnold Rampersad, Kara Walker, and Camille Paglia, explore such disparate topics as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” the origins of the European concept of a “New World,” and an exploration of “hardboiled” as a state of mind. The book’s amazing diversity is unified by a single thread, which is simply, as Marcus and Sollors state, “speech, in many forms.” Thus, this anthology represents America as an intersection of voices and experiences speaking to each other, calling out, protesting, creating, and recreating anew. This is a vital book for any student (or product) of American culture.

A New Literary History of America (Harvard University Press Reference Library) Cover Image
By Greil Marcus (Editor), Werner Sollors (Editor)
$51.50
ISBN: 9780674035942
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Belknap Press - September 1st, 2009

A New Literary History of America (Harvard University Press Reference Library #16) Cover Image
By Greil Marcus (Editor), Werner Sollors (Editor)
$30.00
ISBN: 9780674064102
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Belknap Press - May 7th, 2012

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