Why buy it?
Around the World In 80 Dishes is a cookbook compiled by award-winning food photographer David Loftus, whose little black book is filled with the world’s most celebrated chefs (Jamie, Heston, Nigella), as well as top-tier food stylists, writers and restaurateurs. And it’s these hot contacts who have granted this globe-trotting shutterbug their signature recipes for inclusion in his very own cookbook.
Our first stop is Paris, where you’ll feast on fruit-filled camembert and crusty baguette. Next up is Egypt for lentil soup and classic ful medames, while dessert takes you to Calcutta with Sybil Kapoor’s orange, Kashmiri chilli and vodka cake – each sticky mouthful punctuated with a sip of Darjeeling tea, if you’re so inclined.
Now let’s talk photography. Loftus, the winner of numerous awards and recently voted 65th most influential photographer of all time, has crafted food shots that are so enticing, one gets the impression you could virtually reach into the page to steal a bite (case in point: the elderflower and gooseberry cake; jungle rabbit two ways; and mussels in Guinness). If you need further proof of his skill, take the word of Jamie Oliver, who first saw his work and said, 'You’ve got to give me this man’s number".
The true beauty of this book is that it will lead you to create new food memories and stray from your default meat and three veg. If you’re still not sold, we’d recommend the pauper’s toast with chocolate (because, really, after all that travel one really does work up an appetite).
Despite the overwhelming diversity here, there’s nothing overly challenging about it. In Loftus’s words, you simply need to 'warm up the oven, pick a destination and prepare to set off". The most fiddly it gets is probably the coconut, nutmeg and pistachio ice-cream crunch bombs (though with a name like that, you’d do well to persevere).
Poppy seed French toast.
Most surprising dish
Focaccia with black grapes.
"Borage is traditionally a medicinal herb that’s long been used in Greek stews and soups, or to fill pastas. Borage is supposed to be good for the tum" - and for PMS."
Those who love food and travel; folks who rarely stray from the same four or five dinner options; and those with a teaspoon more kitchen prowess than their inner circle.
Cook the book
Around the World In 80 Dishes by David Loftus (Atlantic Books, $49.99, hbk).