Going all the way back to earliest Ottoman cookbooks, chef M. Omur Akkor has collected a rich sampling of Ottoman meals. These recipes, taken from great chefs of the Ottoman's great palaces and from the ordinary kitchens of Ottoman homes, provide a delicious introduction to the kind of cuisines that united one of the greatest empires in history. Part history lesson, part cookbook, Ottoman Cuisine brings history alive—in your kitchen!
Akkor's frustratingly slim paean to the cuisine of the massive Ottoman Empire is a missed opportunity. The latest in a series of shallow takes, Akkor (Practical Recipes in Turkish Cuisine) walks readers through simple dishes such as chickpea soup, cheese cutlet, and oven-roasted sea bass, as well as more inspired fare such as sea bass with hazelnut garlic sauce, onions stuffed with ground meat (he doesn't specify which type), cinnamon and pomegranate molasses, and stewed squash with yogurt, with no explanation of the significance of the dish, why it was selected, or what diners can expect. The book's missed trajectory given its topic is truly remarkable, as Akkor alludes to the sheer scope of Ottoman palace cuisine in his introduction (the kitchen alone took up over 5,000 square meters and employed hundreds of chefs and assistants) yet he goes no further once he's on to the recipes.