Friday, December 28, 2012

Naomi Duguid's "Burma: River of Flavor"

Once in a great while, a little-known cuisine gets itself introduced to the English-speaking world via a well-written cookbook, and life for those who love to eat and cook changes for the better.

This usually has a lot to do with how sublime that cuisine is – a cookbook can crystallize whatever innate qualities make a particular food culture unique and unforgettable.

But what really matters is how much the writer loves that cuisine, how much she understands the people who make it and how much she is willing to submerge herself in this completely foreign approach to food. And no one does this better than Naomi Duguid, whose most recent book, Burma: Rivers of Flavor, opens the long-locked doors to Myanmar and allows us to partake of its exciting food.

Long isolated from the rest of the world by the ruling military junta, Myanmar has been moving toward democracy over the last two years. (Duguid writes that Myanmar, the country’s current official name, refers to the homeland of the dominant ethnic group. She prefers Burma, which she says includes the entire country.)

Much like the award-winning cookbooks Duguid co-authored with ex-husband Jeffrey Alford, this one moonlights with equal aplomb as a travel guide, a history book, an ethnographic study, a photographic essay and a guide to understanding a culture totally foreign to the West. Short chapters – often not more than a page in length – succinctly describe the intersection of Duguid’s personal experiences with the history and heritage of a remarkable people....

Read the rest here in my full review on Zester Daily! 

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