Review by Kylie Thompson
Rating: 4 stars
Publisher: Murdoch Books/ Allen & Unwin
It’s easy to forget that the Mediterranean region includes parts of Italy, France, and Spain. And yet, their closeness has allowed for an unparalleled interaction between the three cuisines within the region- much to the delight of foodies everywhere. There’s a history here, nestled alongside the delectable foods, that’s ripe for the telling.
‘Coastline’, by Lucio Galletto and David Dale, is a love letter to the region, showcasing the foods and flavours while offering up a history of the evolution of the region’s cuisines. This isn’t a traditional cookbook. Instead, it’s an exploration of the places and the people, and the way they’ve worked together through the gneratiomns to create remarkable foods famous around the globe.
If you’re a foodie who loves the history of the meals you prepare, you’re probably going to love ‘Coastline’.
If you hate seafood, you’re probably going to be a little less excited. The Mediterranean is famous for its seafood, after all, and if you’re allergic, you might get a bit frustrated by the seafood-heavy dishes. But despite the overabundance of seafood, it’s a beautiful collection with enough seafood-free dishes to keep you interested.
The photography here takes a cookery collection and creates a table book to savour. These aren’t just beautifully styled and presented food images, though there’s an abundance of such imagery here; there’s also a collection of landscape images that are almost guaranteed to make you want to jet off on an adventure. ‘Coastline’ is filled with glimpses into the daily life- not just the beautiful scenery, but the people and the produce that make the Mediterranean even more beautiful.
The recipes are easy enough to follow, with dishes ranging from simple to complex to keep even the most kitchen savvy cook on their toes. Each dish comes with a quick snippet of its history, or an interesting tidbit of information, and there’s something wonderful in preparing a meal and knowing where it’s come from. In a sense, it feels like sitting in a beloved grandparent’s kitchen, learning their recipes and the stories that go along with them.
Even with an aversion to seafood, it’s hard not to love ‘Coastline’. It’s a beautiful and loving exploration of the Mediterranean region and its impact on global cuisines. But more than that, it feels like the best kind of memento; a snapshot of all the things that make the area beautiful, rather than just a gathering of recipes.
If you’re a fan of seafood, this is a must-read, certainly. But if you’re not, there’s still enough history and seafood-free cookery here to keep you fascinated. If you’re looking for a book that’s equal parts foodie history heaven and recipes, you’re probably going to love ‘Coastline’.
‘Coastline’ is published by Murdoch Books, and is available at selected retailers.