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The New Book of Middle Eastern Food Hardcover – September 26, 2000
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Begin your meal with mezze, derived from the Arabic t'mazza, meaning "to savor in little bites." Try Cevisli Biber (Roasted Pepper and Walnut Paste) spread on warm pita bread. Serve with Salata Horiatiki (Greek Country Salad) and then move on to a main dish of Roast Fish with Lemon and Honeyed Onions or Lamb Tagine with Artichokes and Fava Beans. The cookbook wouldn't be complete without sections on rice, couscous, and bulgur--try Addis Polow (Rice with Lentils and Dates) or Kesksou Bidaoui bel Khodra (Beber Couscous with Seven Vegetables). Finish with a traditional dessert like Orass bi Loz (Almond Balls).
Mixed in with the recipes are Roden's personal experiences as a cook and recipe archivist, and Middle Eastern tales that illustrate the history of a particular recipe or food group. "It was once believed olive oil could cure any illness except the one by which a person was fated to die," Roden writes. "People still believe in its beneficial qualities and sometimes drink it neat when they feel anemic of tired." She also includes a detailed introduction to the terrain, history, politics, and society of the Middle East so her readers can more fully understand why the cuisine has evolved the way it has. "Cooking in the Middle East is deeply traditional and nonintellectual," she says, "an inherited art." It's our good fortune to inherit such a rich tradition. --Dana Van Nest
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
I was so surprised to see its comprehensiveness. It had the wonderful snake pastry (snake shape, not ingredient!) of Morocco, and gave ingredient amounts befitting a party crowd. Favorite tagine lamb dishes, boreks, kibbie (kibbeh), yogurtlu-steeped meat dishes called to mind many delightful authentic culinary experiences. I even laughed to read both stories I had been told about the dish which killed the priest. And I learned new ones, ie the Sultan's dish story.
I was also delighted by the tone of the book, comments, adjustments for the modern kitchen, and the stories included in the pages. Mullah Nazruddhin Hoja tales have been a standard in my household, and the inclusion of some of his snippets are being relished.
A Persian poet once said: If I have but two dollars, let me use one to buy a loaf of bread to feed my body and the other for a hyacinth to feed my soul. This cookbook has both cuisine - sensual Arabic foods for the body and stuff for the soul.
Need one Middle Eastern cookbook? This is the one! Highly recommended.
From years of use and more use, my paperback copy has had so many spills and accidents that it is almost falling apart. When I saw that they re-published the book, I bought it immediately.
As the opener states, Claudia Roden is to Middle Eastern cuisine what Julia Child is to French. She manages to give a history, a story, and a recipe all without seeming disjointed or breaking stride. Her directions are clear and concise and the measures, times, and ingredient amounts all work...something a few cookbook authors have yet to master!
Another factor in recommending this book is that Ms Roden's approach was to take a comprehensive look at Middle Eastern food. She included everything from the Atlantic coast of Africa to the Gulf States and on to Iran...most books in this genre only include recipes from one or two countries. She also takes dishes and gives them regional spins (ie: making a traditional Lebanese dish and then showing variations which give it a more Morrocan flavor or Iranian, etc).
I sing the highest praises of Ms Roden and her book. It is a true masterpiece and should be included in any household library of someone who enjoys eating.
Buy the book and eat well!
As the title suggests, this book is a new and greatly revised edition of a volume first published in 1968. In this edition, much academic material, i.e. recipes derived from translations of old historical documents has been replaced and augmented by newer material from the Middle East. Ms. Roden clearly states that this is not a work of scholarship, but one should not take from that the feeling that these recipes are not the real thing. I am certain that like Ms. Wolfert, they are genuinely Middle Eastern recipes, made useable by the modern American or English cook.
The meaning of `Middle Eastern' in the title may not be exactly what a geographer or historian may mean by `Middle Eastern' or roughly from Turkey to Egypt to Iran. Ms. Roden means primarily the region covered by the greatest advance of the Muslim rule and influence in the European Middle ages. Her four principle regions of concentration are:
The earliest and `the most exquisite and refined' is that of Persia, now Iran.Read more ›
For those reasons, I am going to break down and buy the book myself. I can't bear to lose it to the library. I am giving it 4 stars instead of 5 only for one reason. In my opinion, a cookbook can't be truly complete without a great deal more pictures than are in this book. (It has 491 pages of text and 24 pages of pictures.) If you have been to the countries where these recipes arose, your mind will remember how those dishes looked that you sampled there. Otherwise, you'll need a few supplementary picture books - or make the dishes blind and with confidence that by following the instructions, the results will be right.
PS - the Christmas dinner was extremely well received. It was served as a buffet and was unusually easy entertaining due to the large number of cold dishes in this cuisine which could be prepared in advance.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was first published in 1968, then revised in 1985. There are no reviews for this book title until 2000 and then they are not for this much older edition. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Libby
We've enjoyed the recipes that we've tried in this book. Everything has been yummy and pretty easy.
I'd like her to include more detail in her directions. Read more
This is a classic cookbook of middle eastern foods that you go back to again and again for recipes. I strongly recommend it. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Emilie M. Roth
After exploring a local Middle Eastern market I had this desire to try to cook some Middle Eastern dishes (cooking is my hobby). Read morePublished 8 months ago by Douglas L. Lapedes
I loaned this book to a friend who never returned it, so had to buy another copy! The recipes are delicious, and easy to prepare with lots of vegetarian options. Read morePublished 8 months ago by melcar