by Robin Howe and Pauline Espir
A delightful cookbook, The Sultan’s Pleasure was originally published in 1953. In the first half of the twentieth century, Bobin Howe and Pauline Espir lived in Turkey for a number of years, and, after coming back to home to the United States, they were inspired to write down a compendium of what they had been eating during their residency. However, they found that some techniques and ingredients were impossible to replicate because of limited resources and equipment available. This dilemma did not obstruct their project to record Turkish cuisine; instead, they decided to adapt the recipes for a Western audience.
I was drawn to The Sultan’s Pleasure for this reason— similar to my own travels from the Europe to the United States, some of my favorite foods were no longer available because I was unable to find the necessary components to reproduce the flavors. As such, it is a pleasure to see how Howe and Espir overcame these issues and produced an eccentric collection of both traditional and modified recipes that reflect the intriguing flavor combinations we find in traditional and modern-day Turkish cuisine.