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Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews Hardcover – August 21, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1ST edition (August 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060888180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060888183
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 10.2 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“The intriguing recipes inspired me to head for my kitchen, but the story kept me in my chair, riveted.” (New York Times)

“Poopa Dweck has put together such a wonderful collection of delicious recipes.” (Claudia Roden, author of The New Book of Middle Eastern Food and The Book of Jewish Food)

“Aromas of Aleppo is as enticing to read through as to cook from.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“[Poopa Dweck] has made it her task to preserve their venerable cuisine in its fullness.” (Los Angeles Times)

“The large-format book could be relegated to the coffee table but won’t be.” (Chicago Tribune)

“Tinged with the bittersweet memories of a community that lovingly upholds table traditions of the city that evicted all its members.” (New York Sun)


About the Author

Poopa Dweck is an expert on Aleppian Jewish cookery and the creator of Deal Delights cookbooks. A highly active community leader, she frequently lectures and performs cooking demonstrations. She is also the founder of the Jesse Dweck City Learning Center and Daughters of Sarah and the cofounder of the Sephardic Women’s Organization. Dweck lives in Deal, New Jersey, with her husband, and has five children.

Customer Reviews

It is a truly beautiful book--filled with history, stories, and amazing recipes.
Mayflower Girl
Both are excellent cooks like my mother and grandmother so they just jumped right in ..... they made the foods we all loved from our childhood and so enjoyed!
The mouth watering recipes are pictured and written with easy to follow directions.
Shelly Sabin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Overall, a great effort. The author is clearly familiar with the traditions and customs of the Syrian Jewish community,and her research is very thorough. I would give this part of the book 5 stars. As a member of this community presently serving in the military, it's great to have this book as a resource to prepare dishes for my family when they come to visit.

From a recipe perspective, however, this book is far from perfect, and rates a 3. I consider myself a cook and baker of considerable experience, and after making many recipes from this book, I found I had to stick post-its on many pages with notes such as "too much salt", or "had too much filling left over." It's a bit annoying to follow a recipe to the nth degree and discover you had enough meat left over after making the miniature tamarnid mincemeat pies for a whole other batch, or had enough date filling left after making the date-filled crescents to make another 2 dozen cookies (which I did, by making 1/2 of the dough recipe). I also question some of the ingredient quantities in several recipes - 4 cloves of raw garlic to make a small batch of hummus (15 oz can or fresh equivalent) is too much for even the most ardent garlic lover! I had to make another batch of hummus minus the garlic and add it to the first batch to make it edible.

Several glaring misteps such as these make me wonder if the author actually knows how much of an ingredient should go in a recipe, or if she mostly cooks from experience and does not follow written recipes. Many women who have been cooking for years do this, but when you're writing a cookbook, accuracy is critical.

I'm glad to have this book and it sits prominently on a stand in my kitchen - I just keep my post-it pad handy.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By M. D. Thomas on October 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is an incredible journy through a cusine and a culture. I love Middle Eastern Food and purchased this book to compare the Syrian Recipes to the Lebanese Recipes that I had grown up wiht. This book provided much more. A wonderful inside look at the Jewish Culture in Aleppo. The recipes are delicious (not much different than what I grew up with, except followng Kosher Laws) and easy to follow. The book has beautiful photography and now sits out in my kitchen counter. A must read for anyone interested in Middle Eastern Foods and cultures.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rabbi Style on November 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Growing up in a Syrian community, but marrying a non-Syrian has made it real difficult for a guy like me. Especially since I don't live in the community anymore. I've always missed our traditional foods, but couldn't get the recipes. Then this book came out in time for the chagim! So far, all the recipes that we've made are delicious, just like the best maza out there! If you like Syrian foods, this is really going to put a smile on your face!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Holly Chase on June 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The exploration of culinary culture is one of the most effective ways to awaken the uninitiated to both the complexities of other societies and the possibilities for fruitful interaction with them.

What do most Americans know of Aleppo, a settlement founded several millennia BCE and continuously inhabited ever since? Not nearly enough. Also known as Halab, Halep, Alep... the city lies in what is now northern Syria. Jews, Muslims, and Christians have long mingled in what was a provincial capital of the Ottoman Empire. Until recently, in this polyglot and multi-ethnic city, a cultural rival of Damascus, one could find residents representing most of the faiths and ethnic groups of the Near East and eastern Mediterranean.

Surrounded by pasturage supporting flocks and agricultural land yielding nuts, wheat, and olives, the city was a stop for the caravans bringing silk and spices from farther east. Given the ingredients at hand, it is no surprise that the inhabitants of Aleppo expressed themselves as much in the kitchen as they did in the city's esteemed metal, glass, and textile workshops. Aleppo, with its population of Arabs, Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Greeks and other Europeans has long been renowned for the variety and sophistication of its food.

Through their research and documentation of the rich social, spiritual, and gastronomic textures of Aleppo's Sephardic community, Poopa Dweck and Michael J. Cohen have succeeded admirably in presenting and preserving a culture through food.

Sadly, most of Aleppo's specifically Jewish dishes are now to be found only in the diaspora of Aleppian Jewery. Middle Eastern political tensions over the past 60 years have caused virtually the entire community of Syrian Jews to emigrate.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Warshak on September 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
An extraordinary volume of a truly unique and exotic cuisine. This is by far the most beautiful cookbook I have seen - beautiful in appearance, and in spirit. Dweck reveals the secrets of Syrian-Jewish dishes in her time-tested recipes that will leave you and your guests wanting more. The exquisite images make your mouth water. Beyond the recipes and photographs, the book is a great read with Dweck's generous commentary on the ties between food and the cultural traditions of her community. The entire package is top-notch and destined to be the classic volume on this savory cuisine. No food lover should be without it. When not being used in the kitchen, this gorgeous work will be on your coffee table. A magnificent achievement, astounding in its scope, beauty, and execution.
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