by Sybil PrattFebruary, 2004
Noted food writer, James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and peripatetic pursuer of culinary greatness Anya von Bremzen had a yen, not for a particular food, but for a cookbook filled with the "world's greatest hits" the timeless, irresistible classics we know, love and want over and over again, food that has transcended trends, fads and super chefs. Anya couldn't find such a collection anywhere, so she took on this ambitious project herself. The result, The Greatest Dishes: Around the World in 80 Recipes is a fabulous collection of "edible masterpieces" chosen with great care and concern and seasoned with Anya's own extensive traveling and eating experiences. You might quibble with some of her choices, but that won't get in the way of the utter joy and comfort of having these quintessential dishes in one wonderful cookbook. The recipes are arranged alphabetically, from apple pie to Weiner schnitzel, unusual but super-handy. Each dish is introduced with what Anya calls a "biography," a brief but ample essay on its origin, originator (if there is one) and history. Some you'll know instantly French Onion Soup, the deep, dark stalwart of bistro cooking, Perfect, Simple Eggs Benedict, Classic Bolognese Lasagna al Forno, others will surprise magnificently marinated Korean Barbecued Short Ribs, real Russian Winter Borshch, saffron-scented Persian Chelo, the "world's loveliest way of cooking rice." Eating with this global gourmet is a true treat.