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Book Review: Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes by Tessa Kiros

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Were you lucky enough to receive Falling Cloudberries as a holiday gift? I was — and have been immersed in it for weeks.

Through a gorgeous book design, published by Andrews McNeel Publishing, LLC, we are drawn into the author's life through her brief essays and sweet memories of food experienced through her very global existence. You'll lose yourself too, in the full-page, full-color photos of food, interspersed with travel stories, photos and drawings that round out this food-family-travel memoir… not to mention over 170 recipes.

Tessa Kiros was born in London, moved to South Africa, has parents from Cyprus and Finland, and now lives in Italy with her husband. Along the way she captured recipes in her journals, from her life among the people of Finland, Greece, Cyprus, South Africa, and Italy.

Falling Cloudberries goes far beyond recipes, beyond travel, to living in a global world. Kiros' memories of home, family and food surpass most of ours, especially those of us who grew up with macaroni & cheese from a box, and graduated to fast food as adults. The book carries us through a lifeline of rich experiences, with food at the center of the concept of family, heritage and culture.

It's no wonder Kiros loves tradition and gatherings over food. This is where her life was lived, across continents. The recipes, strewn about like dishes on the table, are not ordinary, yet they are fully accessible. There is a full index and descriptions, but her style is more relaxed than a typical recipe's instructions.

You'll find an appetite for adventure in the large chapter "Suitcase of Recipes" with ideas from her travels, including Thai chicken soup, salads of couscous and lentils, pepper steak and a chocolate truffle tart I'll never reveal to anyone. It's my secret now.

A small essay accompanies each country section, and the recipe instructions are written in prose, perhaps as if they were passed to her through conversation.

Even a beginning cook could proudly prepare these dishes. Most recipes have only a few ingredients. Depending on where you live, though, you may have to forgo unusual items such as malrut leaves for the Thai soup.

Bon Appetit!

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About Helen Gallagher

  • http://www.galelaure.com Gale Laure

    This book sounds very interesting. Stories with food – what more could you ask for! GL