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Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States : A Dinner Party Approach to International Relations
Chris Fair has dined with soldiers in the Khyber Pass and with prostitutes in Delhi, rummaged for fish in Jaffna, and sipped Taliban tea in Peshawar. Cuisines of the Axis of Evil is a sophisticated, fun, and provocative cookbook with easy-to-follow recipes from both America's traditional enemies in foreign policy--including Iran, Iraq, and North Korea--and friends of the U.S. who are nonetheless irritating by any measure. In addition, each country section includes all the smart, acerbic geopolitical nuggetry you need to talk the talk with the best of them. Recipes include Iranian chicken in a walnut pomegranate stew, Iraqi kibbe, and North Korean spicy cucumber, as well as special teas, mango salads, beverage suggestions, and much more.
Foreign affairs analyst Fair combines current events, history and cookery in this unorthodox book. Provoked by Bush's 2002 State of the Union address and her brothers' call-up by the National Guard, she posits that one way to a more tolerant post-9/11 world might be through the stomach. The author takes on 10 countries: the axis of evil triad of North Korea, Iran and Iraq; global players like Israel and China; alleged thorns-in-freedom's-side like Pakistan, and finally the Great Satan, the U.S. She compiles dossiers of perfidy--a history of each nation's geopolitical sins--followed by culinary plans of attack. The research and experience backing the dossiers is considerable, if filtered through a shrill, leftist-corrective sensibility. The representative recipes, meanwhile, range from an Iraqi lamb and okra stew (Be warned: Okra is a finicky flora) to steamed Chinese eggplant and Kashmiri spiced tea. There's even Beer Butt Chicken to represent Uncle Sam. The genuine political and culinary passion don't organically connect; rather it's a crazy salad of dark leftist humor. Whether it's possible to laugh while despairing and cooking (the recent natural disasters particularly skew the tone of the chapters on Burma and China) remains to be seen. (Aug.)
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August 02, 2008
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