An interview with author Caroline Eden about Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & the Caucasus
Got the travel bug but you’re stuck at home? Try this: page through a beautiful new recipe book from foreign lands and cook up a few simple, yet exotic dishes.
Travel, culture, and food writer Caroline Eden, an occasional MIR traveler, has just such a book for you, featuring sumptuous photos and tantalizing recipes from quite a few of MIR’s destinations.
Entitled Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & the Caucasus, it is gorgeous enough for the coffee table, but will more likely be found propped open on the kitchen counter, spattered with dabs of butter and drips of pomegranate juice.
Caroline Eden and her collaborator, food writer and recipe developer Eleanor Ford, had a clear intention:
“The idea was to bring together the cuisines of seven ethnic groups who had left their mark on Samarkand over the centuries – the Tajiks, Russians, Turks, Jews, Koreans, Caucasians and the Uzbeks themselves.”
Caroline’s essays, scattered throughout the book, include tales of wonderful produce markets, over-the-top banquets and a meal with a man who forages for wild foods and medicinal herbs in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan, where she once traveled with MIR.
Eleanor presents simple instructions for putting together meals of Central Asian plov and shashlik, Azerbaijani “Buttered Rice under a Shah’s Crown,” and a cake popular in Uzbekistan called “Ruins of a Russian Count’s Castle.”
Mark your calendars:Caroline will be hosting a special tour for MIR in 2017, Backstreets & Bazaars of Uzbekistan, during the spring festival of Navruz, March 18-27, 2017.
I caught up with her recently to find out more about Samarkand.
The book covers both Central Asia and the South Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia), and after I’d explored Central Asia I went on a few adventures to the Caucasus. The food there is outstanding, as are the mountains.
Obviously we’re not Central Asian, so we’ll leave the strictly authentic recipes to the locals who know best.
Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford’s book Samarkand is available at your local bookstore or online at Longitude Books or Amazon.com. You can follow more of Caroline’s adventures via Instagram and Twitter, or read an interview with her from Longitude Books.
Travel to Samarkand with MIR – and Caroline Eden
Join Caroline Eden on MIR’s brand new tour of Uzbekistan during the spring festival of Navruz. Backstreets & Bazaars of Uzbekistan is a cultural and culinary caravan welcoming the return of spring, and the only 2017 departure runs from March 18-27, 2017. For more information, contact MIR today at [email protected] or 1-111-111-1111.
MIR has 30 years of travel experience in Central Asia and the South Caucasus, plus an affiliate office in Uzbekistan. We have a roster of contacts that can take you to places you didn’t even know you wanted to go. Our full service, dedication, commitment to quality, and destination expertise have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”
Learn more about other MIR tours that travel to these fabled regions, where you can experience the delicious food and warm hospitality for yourself:
- Once Forbidden Lands of Central Asia & Iran
- Journey Through Central Asia: The Five ‘Stans
- Silk Route Odyssey: Caravan Across Uzbekistan
- Chinese Turkestan & Central Asia
- Central Asian Epic Overland Adventure
- The Pamir Highway & Across Fabled Frontiers
- Treasures of the South Caucasus
- A Taste of Georgia: Wine, Cuisine & Culture
You can also book a custom private journey. MIR specializes in personalized, private journeys, and we love to take your ideas and weave them into a trip tailored especially for you. Travel wherever, however and with whomever you like, relying on our expert assistance. Contact us to find out more about our custom and private travel expertise – each trip handcrafted to your interests, dates and pace.
Top Photo: The Registan Complex is the crowning jewel of Samarkand; Photo: Caroline Eden
PUBLISHED: July 11, 2016