Books & Literature

Cookbook Review: The Food of Argentina, by Ross Dobson & Rachel Tolosa Paz

Argentina is a multicultural society with their own unique twist on many popular dishes.

Food delivered the way Argentines eat, whether outside, at home or elsewhere.

Every book needs a theme and the authors of this comprehensive cookbook group their recipes around the different ways Argentines eat, in particular, outside, at home and afternoon tea.

The introduction describes Argentine food as “simple and unfussy” for the most part, with most effort occurring in the preparation. Like Australia, Argentina is a country built on migration so their food has influences from cultures as broad as Spanish, Italian, German, Welsh and Armenian, amongst others. In fact, over 60% of the Argentine population is of Italian decent, according to the authors, which explains the appearance of dishes like Ravioli (page 97) within these pages.

Rachel Tolosa Paz provides stunning photography of the landscape and food, while the double-page introduction to each section describes the lifestyle and logic behind the grouping.

Like all good cookbooks, each recipe begins with an introductory paragraph or two, providing some context to the recipe, whether it be of cultural or social significance. The authors have a comfortable style that makes for easy reading that educates as well as tempts the reader.

The recipes are quite varied, as one would expect from a multicultural society, which broadens the appeal of this cookbook significantly. It’s a thick, hardcover volume, offering over 250 pages that ends with a nicely spaced, easy to read Index instead of the tiny font, crammed Index that seems so common in cookbooks nowadays.

Guiso (Lentil Stew), page 134

Lentil stew is a comfort food for me. It’s filling, healthy and delicious. It’s a recipe I can rarely resist. In Argentina, they add chorizo along with carrots, potatoes and celery, making for quite a substantial meal. The use of cloves, thyme, paprika and other herbs only adds to the flavour of this marvellous dish. The instructions are very basic – only three short paragraphs. So easy! Guiso is a winter warmer that will be twice as satisfying in the colder weather to come. I can’t wait for the winter chill to set in when I have every intention of revisiting this sensational dish.

Ensalada Rusa (Russian Potato Salad), page 177

I made this recipe only recently from another cookbook where I struggled just as much with the consumption of the raw egg mayonnaise. I was hoping the second time around would be easier, given how much I enjoy the heart of this salad. It wasn’t. The salad itself is a fantastic potato salad, fleshed out with peas and carrots, and it would be a welcome addition at any BBQ. Like the first time though, I would ditch the recipe’s mayonnaise in favour of a more traditional, store-bought mayonnaise in future.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Distributed by: Simon & Schuster Australia
Released: November 2018
RRP: $49.99 hardcover

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