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The World on a Plate: 40 Cuisines, 100 Recipes, and the Stories Behind Them
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The World on a Plate: 40 Cuisines, 100 Recipes, and the Stories Behind Them

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  318 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Eat your way around the world without leaving your home in this mouthwatering cultural history of 100 classic dishes.

Best Culinary Travel Book (U.K.), Gourmand World Cookbook Awards

Finalist for the Fortnum & Mason Food Book Award

“When we eat, we travel.” So begins this irresistible tour of the cuisines of the world, revealing what people eat and why in forty cultures.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Penguin Books (first published March 6th 2014)
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3.50  · 
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 ·  318 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Food lovers and armchair travelers alike will savor this tour through the world’s regional cuisines and trademark dishes. As editor of the Guardian’s "Cook" supplement, Mina Holland has traveled all over the world. No matter where she goes, though, “food is a common language.” In her first book, she introduces 39 cuisines with larder lists, a rundown of crucial flavors, and one to four recipes. Maps and diagrams show which spices and chilies are used in different areas. Sidebars present key ingr ...more
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure it's absolutely no surprise by this point that I love food. Reading about it, cooking it, eating it, traveling to find it. I am constantly trying to learn new things about different ingredients and cuisines, which is why I thought this book would be perfect. Plus, the cover is absolutely gorgeous. However, I was overall left disappointed with this book.

This collection of facts and recipes is divided first by continent, then by country, then by either the city or the region. I did apprec
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mina Holland is an acting editor of Guardian Cook and the author of this incredible book which can only be described as deliciously appetising. I am hopeless in the kitchen and I have never read a book on cooking, but as its name suggests a good amount of traveling is involved in this novel.So bear in mind that this is the review of a lay person, more interested in traveling and eating than in cooking.

" When we eat, we travel " is the first sentence of the introduction and that is something that
May 05, 2015 rated it liked it
To say I was excited about The World on a Plate would be an understatement. It's a collection of all the things I love in life -- talking about food, cooking, and learning about different cultures. So, when I got the email that I'd been approved for an advance copy, I was almost giddy.

The book wasn't really what I expected. It's more of separate informational pieces than anything else. This isn't a bad thing, and I actually learned a lot while reading it. I also got a few ideas for what to do wi

Apr 14, 2015 rated it liked it
An enjoyable literary travelogue on diverse global cuisine and its cultural influences.

Anytime a food writing book includes recipes, I can’t help but feel I’m getting a bonus. She takes it one step further by providing a “pantry list” after each chapter – an added bonus. In addition, she also references other food writing books.

Most fascinating were the historical references – how such events gave birth to emerging palates, and how that then influenced parts of other continents. I appreciated
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The recipes seem interesting, but as a whole the book was rather disappointing - in fact a bit boring. Much to my surprise, because the subject does interest me. Beautiful lay out though.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Fun idea but not executed well. Had this book for awhile and decided to continue on my food theme to get rid of my to-read piles. The book is what it says in the title: recipes from around the world and the stories behind them. From pho to jerk chicken to gomen stew, etc. the author looks at foods around the world, gives us sample recipes and talks a bit about the specific regional specialties, quirks and sometimes why a food is special to her.
It sounds like a fun, thoughtful idea but the book
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
The problem with this book is that with the cuisines presented that I know well, the information was just a bit "off." Of course, some of that is personal interpretation of different cuisines. My favorite dishes in many of the regions Mina Holland presents are vastly different from hers, and that makes me wonder what I would think when trying her choices in regions I don't know well.

I didn't have time to try any of the recipes before the book was due at the library, but a lot of them were so sim
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015-reads
I can definitely appreciate the background provided by the author on local ingredients and how certain cuisines came to be. It's interesting but not as much as a "travel" book as it's purported to be. The author's biases are prevalent, not only in her descriptions, but also in her omission of many countries. She clearly does not care for some parts of the world, and not just because of their substandard food, according to her. Also, while some countries are addressed individually, others are gro ...more
Kristina Stefanova
The book is an interesting reading for people that like to travel and to eat traditional food.
Every cuisine is introduced with a brief description, traditional food products and spices, and some classical recipes. There are plenty of curious facts. For example, the Italian "Prosciutto di Parma" is made from pigs, fed a strict diet that includes whey from locally made Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, special cereals and chestnuts. And the Spanish "Jamon Iberico" is made from pigs, fed with acorns.

Tony Wesley
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Sounded like a great concept. However, the writing was weak (lacking imaginative descriptions) and the recipes banal. Perhaps good for a quick bite at the beach, but lacking substance for a cozy winter dinner!
Sep 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seems like an interesting read. I skimmed it more than read, though, and put it with the recipes books for later and now I feel guilty about not doing it justice.
Charlie Colpaert
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Part travel book, part cookbook, this is a great read. Enjoyed it, and will try some recipes.
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A perfect book for the traveler, historian, and foodie in your life. Mina Holland's writing will simultaneously give you wanderlust and make you hungry.

Longer review to come.
Kate Walton
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, food
An interesting jaunt around all parts of the globe, combining information, personal stories, and recipes.

I was surprised by some exclusions (notably Malaysia and Indonesia) but I suppose it is dependent on the author's own experiences. I also would have preferred to see more references to local chefs rather than foreigners, even if they have mastered a certain cuisine. The Thai section, for example, referred to only David Thomson and Rosemary Brissenden - there are many, many Thai chefs with rec
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a delicious journey around the world! Although each continent only features a few popular countries or regional cuisines, it's certainly a fantastic introductory window into some less well travelled kitchens. I particularly appreciated the links between the development of a region's cuisine and history. A fantastic whistlestop tour!
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful book to reference for home cooks and people who love food. It's a bit difficult to sit and read in one go since it would be an attempt to retain all the worlds' cuisines in one go, but definitely a staple read I'll go back to in years ahead as I travel and eat more.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the premise of this book, but found it jumped a little in style and really got annoyed with the sheer volume of things in footnotes rather than woven into the narrative. This is reflected in the sheer length of time it took me to finish it!
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I, in my long list of things I'd like to write about, could write a book a book like this i'd be mighty happy. An impressively concise read, Mina Holland writes like a very wise friend who has excellent taste and just wants to share her joy with you.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was weird: it is not quite a cookbook, and definitely not a food-related memoir. I'd put it more in the reference category. I think it is trying to be a crash course on all the cuisines of the world.

Each chapter focuses on the food of a specific region. A very condensed history of the area and its culinary evolution is given, as well as the occasional personal anecdote. The author then gives a couple recipes and discusses the dishes.

This format does not make for a very interesting rea
May 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I was excited to win this book. I enjoy food, like learning about different cultures, and thought the combination of the two would be great.

In addition to recipes, the author has included a little bit of almost everything else to pique your interests about the different countries/regions that she describes: history, geography, and culture, and in part, how over time those have come to influence the food of those regions. I found this information particularly interesting, but wished she would hav
Mar 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
Very disappointing. I have not known another such book purporting itself to be a guide to global cuisines, so decorated in praise (the cover features Ferran Adria claiming the book "feeds your soul" in a reputation-destroying turn) and awards, to be so filled with parochial attitudes, blatant biases, and offensive commentary.

The book is loudly and proudly London-centric. It is written for Londoners and, more generally, white British people (other cuisines are described as "theirs" while her UK c
Beth Cato
May 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley. I should add that this was not an ideal means of reading, either. The text was garbled, recipes difficult to read, and images were not in place. I imagine the finished book will be much prettier in all editions.

Holland took on a major endeavor: part cookbook, part history lesson, part travelogue in a survey of major foods from around the world. The end result is organized by continent and delves into 40 cuisines and 100 recipes.

As a his
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
The World on a Plate provides a broad overview of forty of the cuisines found around the globe. It begins in Europe, moves to the Middle East, works through Asia, drops into Africa, before making its final stop in the Americas. It is part travelogue, part travel-guide, part culinary guide, and part cookbook.

Each region is a chapter that describes things like geography, history, politics, and culture that have affected and influenced the cuisine found there. Each is represented by anywhere from
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-read, cookbook
An interesting way to cook. Different recipes from all over the world with some cultural background added in. I never realized the cultural background of some of the foods I ate growing up until I saw them in this book. The recipes varied from appetizer staples such as salsas and hummus to more complicated dishes such as fish stews and beef pho. Each section of the book covered a different cuisine and gave advice for common items to have in the pantry. While most of the ingredients were fairly c ...more
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I received a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The World on a Plate by Mina Holland is an epicurean journey. Ms. Holland guides readers through a virtual trip around the world.

The cookbook is organized by continent, and each chapter includes interesting facts about the area and the native cuisine. Of particular interest are the discussions of grape regions in France and the regional spice mixtures from a variety of areas in the Middle East and India.
Apr 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
This is not a good book. It is poorly written at best and offensive at worst. Holland has done some cursory research into the cuisines she includes in this book, but is herself neither well-traveled nor well-versed in any of them. The stories she offers are infused with stereotypes and lazy writing, and while this is a good idea for a book, the proposed content would have been better served by a writer with some relevant life experience (or perhaps several writers with actual knowledge and/or in ...more
Lots of good introductory information about some aspects of global cuisine, in bite-sized pieces. The author writes from an English perspective, but recipes have been translated (and some American readers will have to forgive her misuse of the term "BBQ" where maybe she should have just said "grilled").
The layout is complicated - geography-based, ingredient-based's like she couldn't pick which, so she made a less successful hybrid - but I would use this book if I were traveling to a place
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 2015
I received this book though Goodreads First Reads. It is an ARC.

I liked that the recipes varied in skill, from simplistic to more complicated. I've only tested out the almond cake recipe and it was so-so in comparison to an actual Portuguese almond cake.

One thing the copy is missing is an Index of recipes, which makes it difficult for me to look them up, as the Table of Contents is based on region. I found the way some of the regions were broken down to be a little haphazard, but I did like most
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Impressions While Reading:
VERY informative. Learned a lot. Cool to see the interconnectivity between different culture's cuisines.

No pictures of food. NONE.

Only found 2 recipes to try.

Lots of foreign-language names of ingredients and dishes... And no clues to pronunciation. :(

Author's pescatarian leanings come through loud & clear- lots of fish and vegetarian dishes; very little meat. She's honest about it though, so is it bad? Or ok?

Recipes I Tried:
Pickled Cucumber Salad: Delicious! Cold,
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Mina Holland is co-editor of Guardian Cook.

Mina Holland es periodista, escritora y especialista gastronómica en The Guardian. También ha colaborado en medios como The Observer, Waitrose Kitchen o Stylist. Su primer libro, El Atlas Comestible, ha sido traducido a siete idiomas y se ganó la admiración de cocineros como Ferrán Adrià o Paco Roncero. Actualmente es editora de Epicure, el suplemento de