Red Sands: Reportage and Recipes Through Central Asia, from Hinterland to Heartland (Quadrille, 2020)

A ‘book of the year’ 2020 for the Financial Times, Sunday Times, Mail on Sunday, The Week, BBC’s the Food Programme and The New Yorker. 

- Winner of the André Simon Award for best food book 2020 - 

You can buy it here

Press coverage for Red Sands 

'In a sprawling, journalistic first-person travelogue through Central Asia.. Eden, who is based in Edinburgh, captures both the beauty and unease of travel with uncanny precision, accounting for small moments, great histories, and political tensions with a literary voice that often brushes against the sublime.’ Helen Rosner, The New Yorker 

‘Caroline Eden is an extraordinarily creative and gifted writer. Red Sands captures the sights, tastes and feel of Central Asia so well that when reading this book I was sometimes convinced I was there in person. A wonderful book from start to finish.’

Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads

‘Eden continues her explorations, not just of fascinating and often under-reported places, but also of the boundaries between reportage, travel and food. There is nobody writing about food at the moment who’s committed to this level of immersion and it rings out in every line.’

Financial Times, Books of the Year

‘Beautifully written, quietly personal, generous, rich with detail, I absolutely loved this book.’

Diana Henry


"Following a decade of writing about Uzbekistan and its neighbouring countries (the ‘stans), during the spring and autumn of 2019 I spent six months on the ground developing stories and chasing leads. My primary aim for Red Sands is to reveal a different portrait of Central Asia, using food as an agent, device and theme, while also preserving on paper something of these countries as they rapidly develop and open up to the world.

Beginning on the shores of the Caspian Sea, in oil-rich Kazakhstan, we head into the kitchens of underground desert mosques, through the world’s largest walnut forests in Kyrgyzstan, to remote orchards in Tajikistan, into cafés and canteens in Uzbekistan’s leafy capital and to dining rooms in Soviet-era sanatoriums, all the while exploring how food mirrors and shapes landscapes, history and culture.

Lit up by emblematic recipes, Red Sands is filled with human stories, forgotten histories and tales of adventure, while bringing in universal themes that relate to us all: hope, hunger, longing, love and the joys of eating well on the road."