It's finally time to bring you what many of you have been asking for, the Summer Kitchens Cookbook Review. The summer is already here, so nothing better than a cookbook inspired on the hottest season of the year!
In Summer Kitchens, the award-winning author Olia Hercules explores the diversity of Ukraine’s cuisine and heritage through the alluring window of summer kitchens - small structures alongside the main house where people cook and preserve summer fruits and vegetables for the winter months. Featuring 100 recipes, a beatiful collection of food and lifestyle images, and evocative personal narrative, Olia illustrates how the region’s cuisine varies as much as the landscapes, climate, and produce through her travels to the Carpathians, the Black Sea, the shores of the Danube and Dnieper, and her native land.
This cookbook is not just about cooking in the summer. It is about a very special place, the perfect prism through which to look at Ukraine's culinary culture in all its regional, climatic and seasonal diversity.
In this book, you will discover a distinctive culture and cuisine that has been influenced by the complex, turbulent and fascinating history of Ukraine. Sandwiched between Poland and Russia, with Belarus to the north, Romania and Moldova to the south-west, and Turkey a stone's throw away across the Black Sea, Ukraine's regional food is very diverse.
This diversity is well noted throughout the book, thanks to is distinctive chapters. In Summer Stories, you have 7 main chapters that will cover very different things like fermenting, pickling, and presenting to broths and soups or even cakes, desserts, and pastries. This diversity of recipes is what we liked about this book. Instead of giving us just a superficial look at Ukraine's cuisine, Olia was able to take us deep inside her country, showing us not only national dishes but also some hidden treasures.
In the last couple of weeks we have been cooking with this book, and the more we cook the more surprised we get with the different flavors of Ukrainian gastronomy. From the complex flavor of the Fermented Tomato Pulp to the nutty flavor of the Poppyseed, Pecan and Apple Strudel there are lots of flavors to explore in this book.
The recipes are very well written, with detailed and simple instructions. Most of the them have photographs, which in this book is very useful since most recipes are unknown to most of us.
With such diversity of recipes and easy to follow instructions, this book has something for everyone. Easy recipes for the inexperient home cooks and some challenging recipes for the adventurous ones.
Summer Kitchens was a total surprise for us! Not because we doubt the quality of Olia's books (we are actually big fans), but because of our lack of knowledge regarding Ukraine's culinary culture. As we said multiple times, cookbooks are one of the best ways to explore a country without living your home, and this book just proves that. For us, Summer Kitchens is an important tribute to a complex and fascinating country and to a lifestyle that wastes nothing and respects people, land, and season.
Summer Kitchens is a great cookbook, that will make the delight of all Olia's fans but also to those who want to discover the fascinating culinary culture of Ukraine.