Yugoslav Cookbook

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Yugoslav Cookbook coverYugoslav cookbook
1977, 4th ed.

Submitter: I am not a big fan of cookbooks that have no pictures at all. I like to see what I might be making. That way I know it came out right. At least if it looks right. Although I do believe ethnic cook books do have a place in public libraries, I am not sure this one warrants the space on shelf. Old (1977), no pictures and Yugoslavia broke up after 1989.

Holly: I agree that the no-picture format is not ideal. I also agree that this is old. However, if there is a large population in your community of people from that region – Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina – they may find comfort and nostalgia in familiar recipes like these. As always, though, if it is not circulating, it’s probably not worth its space. Know your community!

lamb liver sarma

ohrid eel baked in ashes


    1. The vegetable “caviar” recipe is almost the same one my mother taught me — all the others I’ve seen call for draining the eggplant. She came fro Romania and called it pat lazhana. And she used onions. I still make it every summer; it’s delicious cold, spread on pumpernickel toast.

      If you don’t have another cookbook from that part of the world, and you do have people of generally Slavic ethnicity about, I would keep it. French recipes, you can get anywhere. Eel baked in ashes? Not so much.

  1. I would love something like this just because it’s a cuisine that you definitely don’t see every day. Part of my best friend’s family is also from Croatia. I’m actually going to try and track this down. 🙂

  2. Usually “ethnic’ cookbooks, are useless for people of that particular region, as they are mostly geared to a foreign population. There is a lot of ingredient substitutions, in particular spices, and the dishes are so bland, that do not resemble the original If you want to anger someone from other country, give her/him a cook book with the “original” recipes of said country.

  3. I love old, oddball cookbooks. Culling it because it’s old is a mistake. New cookbooks are frequently full of inauthentic and unproven recipes. Neither is the lack of pictures an issue – Alice Waters’ and Elizabeth David’s books don’t have pictures of the dishes, and those books are invaluable.

    1. Waters and Davids are the worse! We got rid of all those from the entire system. No one asks for those dinosaurs.

  4. People like to look at cookbooks with pictures, but in my experience, the ones that get used the most and have the most staying power do not have photographs. The most respected cookbooks of all time, in fact. Look at The Joy of Cooking, Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, or the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Mark Bittmann’s How to Cook Anything is a modern bestseller with no pictures, and a lot of people consider it essential. My theory is that when you don’t have a professional, highly-styled photo to compare your cooking to, what you make IS what it’s supposed to look like.

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