winter 2022 cookbook club: cooking off the beaten path

Food is culture and I deeply believe in its power to take us on amazing journeys, both inner & outer.

This season we’re taking a journey off the beaten path to explore a few cuisines and cultures that may be new to many of us. Along the way we’ll try new ingredients and learn why they matter. We’ll not only seek to understand differences, we’ll also look for connections. 

I could have easily chosen a dozen or more books for this theme. Let’s say we’re off to a good start, and I promise we’ll continue our “off the beaten path” journeys well into the future.

This season of  92nd Street Y and Kitchen Arts & Letters cookbook club begins on February 1, 2022 (click that link above for more information). I’d love to have you join us live on Zoom if you’re able. But if not, I’ll be posting about each book as we go, so you can follow along here on Wander Eat and Tell too.

If you’re just joining us and would like to catch up on previous or cookbooks (including previous seasons), you can catch up from the start HERE.  

Been there, cooked that? How about these?

all books available from

Over the next couple months, we’ll discover the treasures of Persian cuisine through Naomi Duguid’s James Beard Award-winning book; unlock the alluring mysteries of Portuguese cooking; visiting the intersection of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia in the Baltics; and finally, we’ll explore Japanese farm food through the recipes of a Gourmand World Cookbook Award winner.

about the books 

(Unless otherwise noted, descriptions are adapted from Kitchen Arts & Letters bookstore website)

Portuguese Home Cooking by Ana Patuleia Ortins

The soul-satisfying food of Portugal from Ana Patuleia Ortins, who explores her culinary roots, bringing revelation to dishes from salt cod to fennel soup to wine and garlic braises to flan, and the use of simple regional ingredients as the basis of a distinctly wonderful cuisine.

Amber & Rye: A Baltic Food Journey, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania by Zuza Zak

A region rich in history and culture, Zuza Zak’s culinary dive into the Baltics reveals an amazingly rich and diverse cuisine, filled with treasures like her syrniki pancakes, summer blueberry soup, smoked fish and beetroot salad, and half & half apple cheesecake.

Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid

Journey through the beguiling culinary landscape of Persia with its love for pomegranates, saffron, fresh herbs, cheese and rice and yogurt and walnuts and so much more in revered food expert Naomi Duguid’s award-winning book, which The New York Times called, “A reason to celebrate … a fascinating culinary excursion.”

Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu

“Our life centers on the farm and the field. We eat what we grow,” says celebrated Japanese food authority Nancy Singleton Hachisu. Her book demystifies the rural Japanese kitchen, offering thrilling but simple ways to cook everything from vegetables to noodles to soups to dipping sauces. “For me, the recipes for simple vegetable dishes, often flavored with only a bit of miso or a splash of sake, are the most fascinating,” wrote The New York Times’ David Tanis. (description adapted from the author’s website)

the cooking part…

For each cookbook the club cooks from, I create a menu featuring a selection of recipes from the book in order to provide some structure for the prep and for our conversations. These are only suggestions, and many people experiment with whatever strikes their fancy. Here’s just a hint at the recipes we’ll chose from this season:

From Portuguese Home Cooking…

Kale Soup 
Stone Soup
Gomes de Sá Style Salt Cod 
Feijoada (Bean and Sausage Stew) 
Portuguese Sweet Bread 
Pastéis de Nata 

From Amber & Rye…

Kama Yogurt with Plum Butter 
Wild Mushroom Pumpkin Terrine
Crescent Moon Pastries with Herby Cheese Filling
Baked Trout with Roasted Buckwheat
Cepelinai Potato Dumplings with Lentils and Lovage
Wintery Cranberry Meringue Roulade

From Taste of Persia…

Farmstead Winter Soup
Fried Eggplant Rollups 
Kerman Bazaar Lamb Stew 
Classic Pomegranate Walnut Chicken Stew 
Date Nut Halvah
Cardamom Cookies

From Japanese Farm Food…

Treviso with Pecan Miso and Sansho Leaves 
Egg Custard Pots with Asparagus and Peas 
Country Soup with Vegetables 
Miso Broiled Cod 
Spring Onion and Ginger Stuffed Steamed Snapper 

Throughout my future posts about our Cookbook Club experiences, I’ll also share traditional beverage pairings, as well as notes on music, art, and the exchange of culture from place to place. I hope you’ll follow along here on Wander Eat and Tell.

gratitude and more

As always, I want to thank Kitchen Arts & Letters bookstore and the 92nd Street Y in NYC for creating these programs that provide great opportunities for furthering food and drink scholarship and enrichment. 

Register HERE on the 92nd Street Y website. Our theme will be “Cooking Off the Beaten Path” – Or follow along here! I’ll be writing more about all four books we’ll cook from here on this blog as we go!

Reminder, if you would like to catch up with the past seasons’ books, you can get started HERE.

Note: all the links in this post are here because they’re products or services I personally support. I do not receive any sort of payment for having them here. My compensation is in no way tied to your clicks, purchases, or registrations. 

Sign up for my newsletter and follow @Wander.Eat.and.Tell on Instagram to be one of the first to know when registration opens for the next season of Cookbook Club!

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