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The New Book of Middle Eastern Food: The Classic Cookbook, Expanded and Updated, with New Recipes and Contemporary Variations on Old Themes Hardcover – September 26, 2000
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Claudia Roden has updated and expanded her popular 1968 cookbook for a more savvy and knowledgeable audience. While still filled with old favorites, the third edition acknowledges food processors and other handy kitchen tools, as well as this generation's preference for lower-fat recipes. Not that every recipe is changed; many are not, but Roden does attempt not to rely too much on butter and oils.
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
When Roden published The Book of Middle Eastern Food in 1972, the cuisines of Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Egypt and their neighbors were mysteries in this country. Today, their fresh flavors are better known, and much loved, and Roden has expanded and updated her classic to meet modern needs. The new version includes more than 800 recipes, as well as folk tales, tips, anecdotes and just about all the information anyone needs to reproduce foods from that part of the world. Miraculously, Roden manages to be this thorough while never sacrificing her personal toneDthis is a book that is both encyclopedic and intimate. Much of Middle Eastern food is light tasting and vegetable-based, and the recipes reflect these qualities without neglecting more complex and unusual preparations. A chapter on appetizers and salads includes a Moroccan Lettuce and Orange Salad, Tabbouleh, Lemony Chicken Jelly and even a Brain Salad. While Roden is no stickler for starting from scratch, she always provides plenty of options for those who wish to do so. In a section on yogurtDa key ingredient in many recipes, such as Tagliatelle with Yogurt and Fried Onions, and Chickpeas with Yogurt and Soaked BreadDshe gives both guidelines for buying yogurt and instructions for making your own. A sub-section on Persian sauces for rice is outstanding, as is another on stuffed eggplants. Desserts include Egyptian "Bread-and-Butter" Pudding and Arab Pancakes with various filings. Roden won a James Beard award for The Book of Jewish Food in 1997. She will certainly be in the running once more with this impressive work. 24 pages of color photos. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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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.
My two favorite things about this book:
1. The folk tales.
2. The regional variations provided for many of the dishes.
If you are remotely interested in a cookbook of Middle Eastern dishes, this is the book to own.
Most recent customer reviews
Meals are delicious if you make some adjustments.Read more