Yashim Cooks Istanbul

A Yashim cookery book would be an appetising prospect.
The Guardian

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Here is the cover design for YASHIM COOKS ISTANBUL, featuring the recipes used by Yashim, my Ottoman investigator, over the course of his five published adventures. They range from light meze to serious dishes, pilafs, puddings, pastries and pickles, imbued with Ottoman flavours.

So many of you urged me to write this book. It has meant a lot of testing and experimentation. So nettle pilaf didn’t make the cut; nor did Priest’s Stew, a beef daube with vinegar backnotes. Good, but not that good – but wait till you try the sensational beetroot pilaf! And please let me know what you think of the cover.

One of the great things about the book is that it allows me to take control, seeing it through from conception to design to edit to print. I’ve had some brilliant professional assistance, especially on design and editing. I’m talking to several printers, in the UK, China and Italy and – whoever gets the job – the book is going to be a feast. It will be a hard case book of 224 pages, full colour throughout, on tactile, bulky, offset woodfree paper. Head and tail bands, gorgeous endpapers. Final details to be decided.

As well as illustrating the recipes we have studded the book with stunning visual references that put Yashim’s Istanbul on display – Ottoman costume, street scenes, some really early photographs. The recipes are interlaced with scenes from the Yashim books which deal with food. The recipes themselves aren’t complex and they don’t need to you to go out and find wildly exotic ingredients. Turkish food isn’t like that – it’s more about warm spices, nuts, vegetable dishes, pilafs. There are recipes for lamb and fish, lots of salads, and little meze for snacks or starters. If you know Istanbul, you’ll know it’s about freshness, things in season, and sometimes the simplest things being the most delicious.

The official launch date for publication is October 27th.

Meanwhile I’m going to keep in closer touch with Yashim’s readers by sending out the occasional email. Letters are, frankly, more my style. If you’d like to receive them, just subscribe here.

9 thoughts on “Yashim Cooks Istanbul

  1. Liz Hunt

    I am sure that a Yashim cook book will be very popular but what I would really like is another Yashim adventure – I have become such an addict and am suffering withdrawal symptoms!

    1. jasongoodwin Post author

      Hi Liz, I understand – and thank you for saying so! But here’s the deal: I have a number of projects on the go right now, a screenplay, a Dorset novel, the cookbook and a house renovation, and to start work on another Yashim adventure I need what you might call a following wind. It comes down to convincing publishers that the demand is there. One of the reasons for starting a newsletter, or an author letter, or whatever else we could call it, is that publishers like it as evidence that you have loyal and interested readers. And here’s another reason to sign up (very easy, two steps only, safe and secure etc): I DO have a Yashim story of about 12,000 words, THE MAN WHO STOLE PUPPIES, just about ready to go. Obviously it’s too short for a publisher to handle, but that wouldn’t stop me putting it out myself, both as a novelette and as an e-book. I will probably do that through the newsletter, so anyone who signs up will get advance warning – maybe even a copy. Here’s the link: http://eepurl.com/bUQ1nD Many thanks for getting in touch, and best wishes, Jason

  2. John Partridge

    Dear Mr Goodwin,
    I love your stories. They take me back in time with historical imagery with flavors and smells that make me feel as though I’m in Yashim’s flat , walking the streets of Istanbul or in the Palace. I’m always checking to see if there is a new adventure coming.
    Thank you,
    John Partridge

    1. jasongoodwin Post author

      Thank you for describing so exactly what I hoped we could all feel! I’d like to have that flat for a while, myself.
      Have you signed up to the newsletter? I’ve realised that’s the best thing for me, writing the occasional letter to people interested to hear what’s next for Yashim, so please add your address to the list. I have two short stories…

  3. libssd

    I just started reading The Baklava Club, and wondered what had become of the cookbook project. I’m looking forward to release of the book in the USA this fall.

    Jason, you make me jealous, as I was a student at the old Robert College in Bebek when you were born. Your vivid descriptions of the old city bring back many fond memories, even smells.

    1. jasongoodwin Post author

      The newsletter – do sign up! – is about to be sent out, and full of cook book news. Thank you for remembering , and yes, it will be out on October 27th with some early copies available I hope here. It looks wonderful and I am proud of it.
      As for jealousy – now, what about evil eye? – I’d turn it round. I’m so pleased the books take you back but I would have liked to see the city then, myself. Do you read John Freely’s books? Some are so evocative of a time when Istanbul was still full of oddities and characters and real work. I like Ara Guler’s early photos for the same reason.
      all best wishes,


  4. Selden

    John Freely was my freshman physics teacher. Freely, Godfrey Goodwin and Hillary Sumner-Boyd would organize walking tours around the city almost every weekend. All the usual places, plus inside the Theodosian walls, down into a Byzantine cistern used as a citrus warehouse, more mosques than I can count, including an underground mosque, climbing up into the minaret at Eyup Sultan, a cast iron Bulgarian church, Tünel, climbing on the roof of St. Irene, and once a visit to the church of St. George on a cold winter day. As we stood inside, with hundreds of small beeswax candles burning, two antiphonal choirs of priests chanted, and finally the Patriarch emerged.

    Sedat Pakay ( http://sedatpakay.com/ ) was a classmate, and I still have a student publication with some of his black and white photos of Ottoman tombstones. Looking him up just now, I was shocked to learn that he died a few weeks ago on August 20.

    Istanbul was a very different place 1964-66, much more European and less Asian than today. The photographs in Orhan Pamuk’s book, Istanbul, brought back many fond memories.


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