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Cookbook Review

"The Brazilian Table" by Yara Castro Roberts and Richard Roberts

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This beautiful book by Brazilian chef Yara Castro Roberts and her photographer husband Richard Roberts may inspire you to try their recipes, but it will definitely make you want to visit Brazil. There are gorgeous photographs throughout this book - not only of the food but of the countryside, markets, and wildlife.

The recipes are divided by geographic region, as there is much culinary diversity in this large country. The author describes the characteristics and cuisine of each region. There are recipes from the Amazon for fish stews (Caldeirada de Peixe do Para) and soups like Tacaca - a shrimp soup with manioc starch. The recipes from the Bahia region also feature seafood and tropical fruit, as well as a recipe for the famous beach vendor snack acaraje. The mining region of Brazil, Minas Gerais (home of the famous cheese rolls pao de quiejo) and the "Cerrado" (the Brazilian savannah) each have their own sections.

Roberts has an extensive chapter on the most distinctive ingredients used in Brazilian cooking, as well as a chapter on traditional ingredients used in new ways. Overall this is an useful and inspiring cookbook that conveys a true passion for Brazilian cooking.
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