Black Sea - part cookbook, part travelogue of author Caroline Eden's journey from Odessa in Ukraine to Istanbul and Trabzon in Turkey – is a gem

Istanbul, Post Magazine

After reviewing Caroline Eden’s wonderful Red Sands (2020), about the award-winning author and journalist’s travels through Central Asia, I immediately looked for more by her. In Black Sea (2018), Eden documents her travels from Odessa, in Ukraine, to Istanbul then Trabzon, in Turkey – three cities along the Black Sea.

You might wonder (as I did) why Eden didn’t just go all the way around the Black Sea, instead of stopping at Trabzon. Fortunately, she anticipates this. “For this book, I first thought about circumnavigating the entire coast,” she writes in the prelude. “But it felt more natural to bookend the journey with two of the Black Sea region’s most interesting and lyrical cities: Odessa in southern Ukraine and Trabzon in northeast Turkey.

“Both are mythical, multilayered places ultimately shaped by their maritime positions, one relatively new (Odessa was established in 1794) and one truly ancient (Trabzon, formerly ‘Trapezous’ and ‘Trebizond’, has Greek trading roots dating back to 7th century BC).

“The third key city in this book, forming a neat centre point, is Istanbul. Not on, but satisfyingly close to the Black Sea, connected to it by the throat of the Bosphorus, just beyond Giant’s Grave, a hallmark hill for boats coming in from the sea.

Istanbul, Post Magazine

The Bosphorus and buildings in Istanbul, one of the three cities Caroline Eden visits in Black Sea. Photo: AFP

“This multilayered city, one that can feel like a conservative village one moment and a cosmopolitan megacity the next, is full of people from the Black Sea: cooks, fishermen, hamam owners, bakers, musicians and taxi drivers. It is the ultimate Black Sea diaspora.

“It is also, arguably, the world’s greatest kitchen,” Eden writes.

Istanbul, Post Magazine

The cover of Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes – Through Darkness and Light. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

“Of course, there are plenty of places of interest and remarkable traditions lying between Odessa, Istanbul and Trabzon. Not only cities but also smaller towns and settlements, all with very different atmospheres but connected to one another by the sea. We will stop at many of these, too […]

“Wedged between ocean and land, all of these Black Sea destinations have something of the frontier about them. Something setting them apart from their host countries.

“Odessa, on the Slavic fringes of the former Soviet Union, is part of Ukraine yet distinct from it, with a cuisine influenced by Jewish and Italian traditions and a spoken language that is often not Ukrainian, but Russian inflected with Yiddish.

“Constanta, on Romania’s Black Sea coast, was Tomis to the ancient Greeks and today is home to one of the Black Sea’s largest ports. Varna [in Bulgaria] has a glorious Roman baths complex and a grand museum housing the world’s oldest gold, while the cuisine of Turkey’s huge Black Sea region, I found out, has a geography all of its own, full of smoky and buttery flavours, quite unlike anywhere else.

“The Black Sea offers waterways and land routes leading east to China; south, to the Middle East and the Mediterranean; west, to eastern Europe, and north, to the Baltic Sea. However you look at the Black Sea on the map, its strategic importance cannot be denied.”

As with Red Sands, it’s a pleasure to read Eden’s beautiful, evocative prose in Black Sea; the recipes are a bonus. They are varied, and include Italian street polpette (Eden writes, “Odessa’s first restaurateurs were Italian and, for a while, their meatballs and spaghetti became the dish of Odessa”), citrus cured mackerel with gherkins, trolley kebab, Circassian chicken, Black Sea borek, monastery soup, raspberry buttermilk tart, and poached apricots in rose water.

​Like what you read? Look for more food and drink in SCMP Post Magazine.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Kanye West and girlfriend Julia Fox in double denim at Kenzo Paris Fashion Week is a throwback to Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears in 2001

Rapper, entrepreneur and former US presidential candidate Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, attended the Kenzo autumn/winter 2022 show in Paris with girlfriend Julia Fox. West and Fox wore ... Read more »

iPhone assembler Foxconn expects ‘unprecedented' first quarter as manufacturers build up inventory

Key iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co may achieve an “unprecedented” performance in the first quarter, according to chairman Young Liu. “Our performance in the first quarter may surpass ... Read more »

Shanghai mayor wants more chip production facilities to support new-energy vehicle growth

Shanghai, home to Tesla’s largest production base, wants to expand manufacturing capacity for automotive chips to support the rapid growth of smart electric vehicles (EVs). The mayor of Shanghai municipality, ... Read more »

Recipe: Singapore’s top chefs share 4 ways to cook lamb this Valentine’s Day

If you’re looking to show off your culinary skills this Valentine’s Day, consider these four lamb recipes from some of Singapore’s top chefs. A red meat just as sumptuous and ... Read more »

Like the Tesla stock rally? With Stock Connect, Chinese investors may get a shot at 51 per cent upside in challengers Xpeng and Li Auto

Mainland Chinese investors enamoured by Tesla’s 50 per cent rally in 2021 may soon get a shot at buying Xpeng and Li Auto, two of the closest challengers to the ... Read more »

Frozen yogurt cubes at Kinex that look like 'huat' mahjong tiles let you indulge with less guilt

© Provided by Mothership Unlike the more mainstream frozen yogurt or “froyo” we are used to, this particular yogurt shop serves it in bite-sized cubes. Newly-opened at KINEX mall in ... Read more »

How to make lucky Chinese Lunar New Year dishes to bring money and happiness

Preparing a Chinese festival feast back in the old days must have been a daunting task. Can you imagine grating radish for loh bok goh (steamed radish cake) by hand, ... Read more »

In our energy-hungry world, nuclear power is making a comeback – with safer and cheaper technology

Stand back for a nuclear reaction. I’m not talking about another Fukushima-style reactor meltdown or an attack involving nuclear weapons (hopefully), but the beginning of a renaissance of nuclear energy ... Read more »

Timothée Chalamet is changing our idea of masculinity – this generation's Leonardo DiCaprio is softer, thoughtful, with less muscle

Leonardo DiCaprio’s early days, and his starring role in 1997 film Titanic, were the last time that a young actor was as present as Timothée Chalamet is now. The Hollywood ... Read more »

Chinese state media calls for an end to ‘chaos' in esports industry amid Beijing's tough stance on video games

People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party, has called for an end to “chaos” in the country’s esports industry, ahead of the 2022 Asian Games later this year ... Read more »

Turkish journalist jailed before trial for Erdogan insult

ISTANBUL (AP) — A well-known Turkish journalist has been jailed pending a trial for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, her lawyer said. Sedef Kabas was taken into custody after she ... Read more »

Stress: how to know if you are suffering from it and ways to relieve the stress if you are

If a colleague asks whether you are stressed, many of us will snap back: “No, I’m not.” We respond swiftly, as though being stressed were a sign of weakness or ... Read more »

Bitcoin's crushing week and collapse in Ether, memecoins challenge optimism in digital assets

The risk-off attitude and selling pressure across the global crypto market showed no sign of abating over the weekend, with losses in Bitcoin and Ether adding to a brutal week. ... Read more »

Big Tech beware: Asian creators are rewriting the future with Web 3.0

The creator economy, estimated to be worth more than US$100 billion worldwide, is thriving. More than 50 million people globally consider themselves creators, and much success has been attained on ... Read more »

Asian private equity firm PAG weighs US$2 billion Hong Kong IPO plan

Asia-focused private equity firm PAG is considering an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, according to people with knowledge of the matter, in what would be one of the ... Read more »

Inside Big Bang's Taeyang and Min Hyo-rin's new luxury home – K-pop celebrities BTS, G-Dragon and Blackpink also live in the upscale Hannam neighbourhood dubbed the ‘Beverly Hills of Seoul'

It isn’t just blowout Korean celebrity weddings that arouse fans’ attention. When a male K-star who is dating splurges on a piece of residential property, his followers see it as ... Read more »

Hong Kong stockbrokers' bonuses shrink after 2021 market rout, while staff at banks including HSBC and Bank of East Asia reap the rewards

Thousands of Hong Kong stockbrokers are bracing themselves for slimmed down or nonexistent bonuses to kick-start the Year of the Tiger, after a months-long market rout that savaged their firms’ ... Read more »

Hong Kong's Sandbox VR was nearly killed by Covid, but it now has global ambitions amid surging demand

Hong Kong-Based virtual reality start-up Sandbox VR plans to expand to 40 locations around the globe, more than tripling the 12 shops it already has, in a rebound after Covid-19 ... Read more »

China must brace for ‘digital cold war' with US as battle for tech supremacy heats up

China needs to brace for a “digital cold war” with the United States as the two nations go head-to-head for dominance of the internet economy. The warning from a top ... Read more »

Is there a ‘perfect' relationship? No, so stop looking for one – it causes stress, depression and prevents you making real connections

Most of us accept that no relationship is perfect and that, as human beings, we are all flawed. However, there are still some people out there who believe in finding ... Read more »

Hong Kong's home buyers snap up Henderson Land's The Harmonie flats, defying city's worst one-day explosion of new Covid-19 cases

Hong Kong’s property buyers turned out in droves, defying the city’s worst one-day explosion of new Covid-19 cases to snap up apartments at the first new housing project to be ... Read more »

Kombucha and the health benefits of tea drink loved by Lady Gaga, Kourtney Kardashian, Halle Berry and Gwyneth Paltrow

Do you want to stay young and healthy even if it means drinking a fermented tea that tastes like sweet-and-sour vinegar? Then kombucha is for you. Celebrities including Lady Gaga, ... Read more »

Beijing lectures Alibaba, Tencent, other Big Tech firms on gig workers' rights despite progress from last year

Beijing has told 11 internet platforms including Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings to better protect gig workers’ rights as the government continues its scrutiny of Big Tech firms in ... Read more »

NetEase apologises for ‘bad experiences' after fans of Harry Potter game revolt over Lunar New Year campaign

Chinese players of a video game based on the Harry Potter series of books by J.K. Rowling have staged an online revolt against NetEase, with their complaints about unfair game ... Read more »

Cryptocurrency crash wipes out more than US$1 trillion in market value

For bitcoin, there’s only been one constant recently: decline after decline after decline. And the superlatives have piled up really quickly. With the Federal Reserve intending to withdraw stimulus from ... Read more »

Dry January? No thanks – it won't improve your health in the long run or solve alcohol-abuse problems

So, how’s your Dry January going? Probably not great if, like most people in Hong Kong, you’re trying to power through this most disheartening first month of 2022. Our administrative ... Read more »

Hellbound star Yoo Ah-in set for another Netflix Original series – K-drama casting latest

The eternal fight against injustice will be the theme for many upcoming K-dramas if the latest casting announcements are anything to go by, with top stars lining up to play ... Read more »

Singapore's first blank-cheque listings get off to a timid start, raising question whether the buzz around SPACs is fizzling out

A lacklustre market debut for the first two blank-cheque companies to list in Singapore is raising some questions whether the excitement seen for such vehicles in the US early last ... Read more »

How a 23-year-old Hongkonger is bringing NFTs to physical fashion to woo Millennial and Gen Z gamers

Nick Lau, a 23-year-old Hongkonger, grew up finding himself on the periphery of his immediate social circles – at Harrow, a traditional English boarding school, he took photography classes and ... Read more »

Green finance: a global standard may cut through the alphabet soup of global ESG rules

As the world’s governments and corporations face up to sustainability risks amid extreme weather patterns under the Earth’s changing climate, regulators are inching towards creating a common standard out of ... Read more »

Heighten The Huat: Decadent Dine-In Options For CNY Reunion Dinner

Restaurants such as Shang Palace (left) and Hai Tien Lo are offering lavish takeaway Lunar New Year spreads to heighten the huat this Year of the Tiger. Restaurants such as ... Read more »

All The Brands Offering Sweet Deals This National Pie Day

© Ethan Calabrese Cakes and cookies get enough fanfare, so it’s about time we say something not many people have been brave enough to say: Pie deserves some love, and ... Read more »

This Vegetarian Italian Sub Is The Ultimate Meat-Free Game Day Win

© Justin Sullivan A Vegetarian Italian sub is the meat-free alternative to the classic. It is filled to the brim with things like eggplant, zucchini, peppers and olives. Growing up ... Read more »

Loved That Meal? Take Home a Menu Memento

© Provided by Food & Wine Nicki Sebastian Chef and restaurateur Camilla Marcus and her husband, Josh Siegel, have been collecting menus together since they were in college. The collection ... Read more »

How a Pro Chef Built Her Dream Outdoor Kitchen in the Middle of a Big City

© Provided by Food & Wine Cathy Pyle / Courtesy of Yoko Kloeden Design Growing up in Cameroon, chef Carine Ottou and her family did most of their cooking outside. Though ... Read more »

Need an Easy Weeknight Meal? Make Pescado con Sofrito

© Provided by Food & Wine Whitney Anderson The ideal weeknight meal has several qualities. It must be fast (we’re talking around an hour or less), simple, and, of course, ... Read more »

Famous Tiong Bahru roast meat hawker stall established in 1950s closing down, owners retiring

© Provided by Mothership The Original Tiong Bahru Golden Pig & Roasted stall, which takes up two units at Tiong Bahru Food Centre, will be closing for good. The stall’s ... Read more »

These Fine Nonalcoholic Wines Top Our Sip List

So you want wine without the regrets? Whether you’re challenging yourself to give up booze for Dry January or looking to drink less—if at all—year-round, you’ll appreciate these top nonalcoholic ... Read more »

The Girl Scouts' Newest Cookie Flavor Is in Short Supply This Season

© Provided by Food & Wine MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images Just before the Girl Scouts kicked off their 2022 cookie-selling season, they made two exciting announcements. The ... Read more »

M&M’s Redesigned Their Characters For The First Time In 10 Years

M&M’s is getting a rebrand, and the colorful characters you spot on its candy packages and in its commercials will have a slightly new look going forward. Mars, Incorporated made ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic