Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Little Insight on the Food in The Historian...

I don't know about you all, but as I read this book, I've noticed that food is mentioned a lot.  Rightfully so, I'd imagine, considering that when you travel to a country you've never been to before, not only do you come home with stories about all of the places that you've visited, but you also talk about everything you least I do...

I've been meaning to post this for quite some time now, and I also wanted to introduce everyone to Annette (Annie) with Buttery Books, who has been with our readalong since we started!  The site is so unique -- they pick a book and do a review, and then they also feature recipes that are inspired from the setting in the book.  They also provide handy tips for your own book clubs and how you can do a whole theme based around the book.  I love this site, and you will find tons of fantastic recipes on here.  They've already featured The Historian, which is how we stumbled across each other in preparing for the readalong.  Click here to visit their site and specifically to The Historian party -- their recipes are fabulous!  I'm now a follower of the site, and they just recently did a post for The Thirteenth Tale and The Heretic's Daughter (two more of my favorite books)!

The Historian includes so many interesting meals that (Paul and Helen especially) get a chance to eat -- who can forget Turgut's wife and all of the food that she overloaded them with?  Since food is mentioned in each location, I've picked just a few to feature.  Let me warn you that researching for these meals made me very, very hungry...

Palinka (Rakiya) -- "Aunt Eva ordered for all of us, as a matter of course, and when the first dishes came, they were accompanied by a strong liquor called palinka that Helen said was distilled from apricots."  (see below as it's mentioned again when they are with Stoichev, and it's called rakiya in that country.)

Hortobágyi Palacsinta -- 'Now we will have something very good with this,' Aunt Eva explained to me through Helen.  'We call these Hortobágyi palacsinta.  They are a kind of pancake filled with veal, a tradition with the shepherds in the lowlands of Hungary.  You will like them.' (Ch. 39)  picture from Habeas Brulee blog  The sauce on top is typically a cream made with paprika and sour cream.

And please check out Buttery Books' site -- yum on their version and recipe!!


 -- "Then she and Selim Aksoy served us coffee and something she explained was Börek, a roll of pastry with salty cheese inside..." (Ch. 50)

Börek is made with phyllo dough and can be filled with feta, meats or vegetables.  According to Wikipedia, "it was invented in Central Asia by Nomadic Turks, and became a popular element of Ottoman cuisine."

In Turkey, they also have something that translates to cigarette Börek because of the shape. (Sigara böreği )


Rakiya -- "Irina and Ranov came into the sitting room with a clash of plates, and Irina began setting out glasses and a bottle of amber liquid."

"But I returned the bow and downed my rakiya.  I decided there was no way to drink it except quickly, and the third-degree burn I received o the back of my throat was soon replaced by a pleasant glow.  Enough of this beverage, I thought, and I might be in danger of liking Ranov slightly."     (Ch. 57)

The fruit is fermented and distilled, and normally it's a colorless drink, but if herbs are included in the mixture, it can change colors, and of course, add to the flavor.  In Hungary, it's called palinka. The liquor itself can come from any type of fruit -- figs, apricots, quinces, peaches, etc.  It can be served as a standard drink, or can be used for ceremonies.  The drink can also be cooked and blended with sugar and honey to sweeten it up.  I'm thinking I might have to track this down and try it...although if it's homemade, it can be upwards of 50% to 60% alcohol content...!

What about you?  Have you had the good fortune to try these delectable treats, or had a sip of the strong drink?

Happy Reading Eating & Drinking!
Coffee and a Book Chick
Tedious & Brief


Trish said...

Yes, the food! Thanks for posting these pictures and links. I was curious what some of the delicious sounding dishes were. They look yummy!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I know, doesn't the food sound incredible! I might need to make some of it this weekend! Too bad I can't find any rakiya locally!!

Heather J. said...

I found Buttery Books through the comments on this read-a-long and I'm so impressed! I've already subscribed to the blog - hoping to find some fun ideas for my book club there. :)

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

Oh my! No wonder that liquor felt like fire in their throats!
I have enjoyed this process so very much...the pictures and background add so much to the story itself.
I also love Buttery Books site!!! So glad she participated!

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