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Reviews of Starting With Food: Culinary Approaches to Ottoman History

“Food is a looking glass through which one can view trends in culture, history, politics, religion, and human affairs. The six meticulously researched essays in this volume highlight food in exactly this light. They unlock new, if narrowly circumscribed, insights into Ottoman life through discussions of feasts, fasts, public and private dining, and food-based social interactions among various groups, ranging from royalty to the indigent poor. The essays’ focus on the region in and around Turkey may be attributed to the fact that they were originally presented during a 2007 symposium at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations. They may reflect but do not report on the broader Ottoman phenomenon, which included a heterogeneous blend of hundreds of ethnicities in a sprawling, geographically, religiously, and culturally diverse region. The essays touch on the dynamism of the Ottoman food experience, which included influences from the Mediterranean, the Far East, Africa, and Europe. Recommended.”
— S. Hammer, Choice