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Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen: A Culinary Journey through Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan Hardcover – April 15, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 438 pages
  • Publisher: The Siamanto Press; 2nd edition (April 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970971680
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970971685
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #897,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Those who recall Beirut's heyday before the Lebanese civil war brought it all crashing down speak fondly of the city's lively beaches, its cosmopolitan atmosphere, and the multiple culinary traditions intersecting at the Mediterranean's eastern shore. Arabs, the French, Armenians, and Maronite Christians contributed to the melting pot that was Beirut. Uvezian grew up in the city's halcyon years, and she has re-created the recipes for foods she so happily recalls. Spices play a major role in Lebanese cooking; cinnamon and allspice add fragrance to both meats and vegetables. Lamb is the meat of choice, but beef makes a good substitute. Pork appears only in Maronite dishes. Vegetables come to the table lukewarm, reflecting a pan-Mediterranean tradition as well as sparing the cook exertion during the heat of the day. Those wanting to reproduce Uvezian's recipes may find some staples such as pomegranate molasses hard to find, but most ingredients appear in large supermarkets. Mark Knoblauch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Sonia Uvezian's family had for generations operated a caravan from southern Anatolia to Beirut. In this handsomely produced and well-illustrated book, she covers every aspect of the cuisine of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, but draws particularly on her youth in Beirut, then a place of great sophistication and plenty, and the family's summer house and garden in the Bekaa Valley...Uvezian recalls hard-working summers in the Bekaa, with all the pickling and preserving to be done, but there are also lyrical descriptions of bicycling through vineyards and orchards and stopping to savor freshly caught and grilled trout at a local restaurant. A leisurely feel prevails throughout this evocative book, which puts the cuisine in the context of the culture, and at the same time gives simple, straightforward and practical recipes demonstrating the variety and richness of the ingredients." --Rosemary Butler-Cole, The Times Literary Supplement (London), March 16, 2001

"The author, originally from Lebanon, has already acquired an enviable reputation for good writing on food (for example The Cuisine of Armenia)...Drawing on her recollections of food in the Eastern Mediterranean, and digging deep into the extensive literature of travelers in the region, she has produced a book which I have found quite irresistible. There is a wealth of recipes, skillfully embedded in their historical contexts. The illustrations (many of the 19th century) are evocative and the quotations from a wide variety of sources constitute one of the best collections I have ever seen in a book about food...An exciting journey for which one could wish no better guide." --Alan Davidson, Petits Propos Culinaires, April, 2000

"Sonia Uvezian is one of the world's leading experts on Middle Eastern and Caucasian cuisines and the author of several works on the cookery of Armenia and the Caucasus. Recipes and Remembrances could very well be the seminal work on the cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean and fills a long-standing void of scholarly works on the subject...It is a title that should reside in the collection of every serious cook or culinary historian. The research and work that went into the production of this entertaining and informative cookbook is astounding. But the true prize of Recipes and Remembrances is the range and depth of the incredibly delicious food the hundreds of clearly written, easy to follow recipes will produce." --Mick Vann, the Austin Chronicle, November 26, 1999

"The incredible research that has gone into this book by well-known author Sonia Uvezian makes it as much a history book as a cookbook...A wondrous addition to any cook's library." --Ginger Johnston, The Portland Oregonian, December 11, 2001

"A full array of dishes known and unknown to Americans...From clotted cream to pomegranate sauce, tabbouleh, and baklava, the recipes are entwined with history, both ancient and modern, as well as cultural and geographical influences." --New Orleans Times-Picayune, October 5, 2000

"This highly original cookbook offers a complete spectrum of culinary delights. In addition to hundreds of superb recipes, it includes illuminating essays on a variety of topics ranging from hospitality and meals to ingredients and utensils." --The Midwest Book Review, November, 1999

"This is an important and valuable addition to the Middle Eastern cooking shelf, full of informative short essays on such topics as hospitality and pomegranate molasses as well as hundreds of recipes, some unusual, that readers have praised very highly...But it is the anecdotes, proverbs, quotations from old travel accounts and, above all, the author's commentary that account for the nostalgic charm that may be this book's greatest virtue." --Aramco World, March/April, 2000

"Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen...is an indispensable resource for the food of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. History plays a large part in the text, the scholarly research has left little out and the collection of recipes with extensive background notes makes it a thoroughly useful book." --Laurine Jacobs, cuisine.co.nz, 2003

"Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen by Sonia Uvezian is a first-class retrospective cookbook. This intelligently written book is one of the best examples I have seen of a cookbook living up to its full potential. It's a cookbook, yes, yet it's somehow more than a collection of past and present recipes. It is a reflection of a people who put hospitality above their own wants and desires...The author is Lebanese and knows the Eastern Mediterranean well. She thoroughly explains how the history, geography and cultural influences converged to shape the region's food and traditions. With the increasingly disturbing news from Syria, this cookbook is now more relevant than ever." Culinarialibris.com (UK), March 5, 2012

"A masterpiece! This first and last word on eastern Mediterranean cooking is sure to become a classic." --Kerri Katz, booksforcooks.com, Fall, 1999

"This handsomely produced and well-illustrated book...puts the cuisine in the context of the culture... Lyrical...evocative...practical." --Rosemary Butler-Cole, The Times Literary Supplement (London), March 16, 2001

More About the Author

Sonia Uvezian was born and brought up in Beirut, Lebanon. A leading authority on Middle Eastern and Caucasian cooking and the winner of a James Beard Award, she is the author of six other highly acclaimed cookbooks, including Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen, Cooking from the Caucasus, and The Book of Yogurt. Several of her books have been selections of Book-of-the-Month Club and published internationally. Ms. Uvezian has also contributed articles and recipes to Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Vogue, and numerous other publications.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 88 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was thoroughly disgusted to read the baseless criticisms of this superb cookbook. It is precisely to obtain an accurate account of the cookery of this region along with first-rate recipes that one needs to own "Recipes and Remembrances." Although Claudia Roden's "A New Book of Middle Eastern Food" is better than Paula Wolfert's "The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean," when it comes to recipes and text neither can approach "Recipes and Remembrances" in quality. I have cooked extensively from many Middle Eastern cookbooks, including these three, and I can honestly say that Uvezian's book upholds the highest standards of eastern Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cooking and is in a class by itself.
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86 of 94 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Bitter experience has taught me not to put much faith in rave reviews of cookbooks. I must admit, however, that all of the previous customer reviews of this book are absolutely on target. Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen is one of the greatest cookbooks I have ever used and is unquestionably the best in its subject area. Fascinating text and fabulous recipes make this inspired volume a must for anyone interested in Middle Eastern cooking. The author gives such clear and east-to-follow directions that I have not had a failure yet. Recently I gave a dinner party using recipes from this book, and it was a huge success. People are still raving about Uvezian's Hummus with Red Pepper Paste, Damascus-Style Cheese Dip with Toasted Sesame Seeds and Nigella, Tabbuleh, Fried Stuffed Kibbeh, Baklava, Aleppan Wedding Cookies, and, last but not least, her Mulled Pomegranate Wine Punch.
Some other favorites of mine from this book include Hummus with Mixed Spices, Toasted Nuts, and Mint (battle-weary hummus gets a new lease on life); Yogurt Cheese Dip with Red Pepper Paste (Muhammara Labna) (Uvezian's version is in a class by itself); Orange, Lemon, and Onion Salad with Black Olives and Mint (full of beguiling contrasts); Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard and Potatoes (earthy and deeply satisfying); Baked Fish with Tomato Sauce Garnished with Sautéed Pine Nuts, Raisins, and Onions (seduces both eye and palate); Chicken, Pepper, and Tomato Kebabs (Shish Tawuq) (a popular restaurant dish that is simple to prepare at home); Musakhan (this easily made version beats all others I've tried); Quail or Cornish Hens with Sour Cherry Sauce (I'll spare you a stream of inadequate adjectives!
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Sonia Uvezian has written yet another landmark cookbook, her best yet. I am familiar with many books on eastern Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cooking, but none compare to this revelatory and loving volume in which the author brings to life a cuisine and a culture in the way only one who was born and reared in the region could. Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen recreates a time and place inaccessible not only to most Americans, but even to most eastern Mediterraneans. It evokes the world of Uvezian's Lebanese childhood and is a rich portrayal of how people lived once upon a time, a happy time, not too long ago. A masterpiece of culinary instruction as valuable for its authentic and inspired recipes as for its exceptionally informative text, this extraordinary work is an essential guide for anyone who enjoys cooking and reading about eastern Mediterranean ingredients, markets, traditional utensils, scenes of daily life, views of mountain villages and the sea, ancient temples, mosques, and monasteries. I found the content of these illustrations at least as impressive as their inherent beauty. Anyone can make the dishes described by following the author's clearly written recipes, which are almost always based on readily available ingredients. Some of the best cooking I have done-ever-resulted from this wonderful book.
I am so impressed with Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen that I have ordered several copies as gifts for friends and relatives on my Christmas list. I strongly recommend that you buy two copies for yourself, one for your kitchen and the other for your night table. My thanks to Sonia Uvezian for a truly remarkable cookbook.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By M. D. Thomas on October 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
While I haven't cooked a tremedous amount of food out of this book yet, it is probably the first cookbook that I have read more than once. It is some wonderful information on the people, history and food of the Levant. It goes through how the different groups in the Middle East serve and prepare food. Talks about the influence of foreign powers on the food and culture. I really enjoyed this book. It's only flaw if that it is long and difficult to wade through if you just in the mood to cook a simple Middle Eastern dish. One of the strengths is the spice mixes. I keep the prepared spice mixes in my cupbard within easy reach and use them a lot.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By music lover on December 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My husband grew up in Lebanon and I was a novice to this style of cooking when we married. Knowing I had to compete with his mother, who turns cooking into an art form, I utilized this book as my introduction to preparation of the cuisine of my husband's childhood. I found it easy to use and my husband assures me that I now cook as well as his grandmother. This book has not only introduced me to the cuisine, but also to the culture. The stories are often as fascinating to read as the recipes are to eat. If you buy only one book on this style of cooking, make it this one.
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