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In this updated and greatly enlarged edition of her Book of Middle Eastern Food, Claudia Roden re-creates a classic. The book was originally published here in 1972 and was hailed by James Beard as "a landmark in the field of cookery"; this new version represents the accumulation of the author's thirty years of further extensive travel throughout the ever-changing landscape In this updated and greatly enlarged edition of her Book of Middle Eastern Food, Claudia Roden re-creates a classic. The book was originally published here in 1972 and was hailed by James Beard as "a landmark in the field of cookery"; this new version represents the accumulation of the author's thirty years of further extensive travel throughout the ever-changing landscape of the Middle East, gathering recipes and stories. Now Ms. Roden gives us more than 800 recipes, including the aromatic variations that accent a dish and define the country of origin: fried garlic and cumin and coriander from Egypt, cinnamon and allspice from Turkey, sumac and tamarind from Syria and Lebanon, pomegranate syrup from Iran, preserved lemon and harissa from North Africa. She has worked out simpler approaches to traditional dishes, using healthier ingredients and time-saving methods without ever sacrificing any of the extraordinary flavor, freshness, and texture that distinguish the cooking of this part of the world. Throughout these pages she draws on all four of the region's major cooking styles:         -        The refined haute cuisine of Iran, based on rice exquisitely prepared and embellished with a range of meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts         -        Arab cooking from Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan--at its finest today, and a good source for vegetable and bulgur wheat dishes         -        The legendary Turkish cuisine, with its kebabs, wheat and rice dishes, yogurt salads, savory pies, and syrupy pastries         -        North African cooking, particularly the splendid fare of Morocco, with its heady mix of hot and sweet, orchestrated to perfection in its couscous dishes and tagines From the tantalizing mezze--those succulent bites of filled fillo crescents and cigars, chopped salads, and stuffed morsels, as well as tahina, chickpeas, and eggplant in their many guises--to the skewered meats and savory stews and hearty grain and vegetable dishes, here is a rich array of the cooking that Americans embrace today. No longer considered exotic--all the essential ingredients are now available in supermarkets, and the more rare can be obtained through mail order sources (readily available on the Internet)--the foods of the Middle East are a boon to the home cook looking for healthy, inexpensive, flavorful, and wonderfully satisfying dishes, both for everyday eating and for special occasions.


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In this updated and greatly enlarged edition of her Book of Middle Eastern Food, Claudia Roden re-creates a classic. The book was originally published here in 1972 and was hailed by James Beard as "a landmark in the field of cookery"; this new version represents the accumulation of the author's thirty years of further extensive travel throughout the ever-changing landscape In this updated and greatly enlarged edition of her Book of Middle Eastern Food, Claudia Roden re-creates a classic. The book was originally published here in 1972 and was hailed by James Beard as "a landmark in the field of cookery"; this new version represents the accumulation of the author's thirty years of further extensive travel throughout the ever-changing landscape of the Middle East, gathering recipes and stories. Now Ms. Roden gives us more than 800 recipes, including the aromatic variations that accent a dish and define the country of origin: fried garlic and cumin and coriander from Egypt, cinnamon and allspice from Turkey, sumac and tamarind from Syria and Lebanon, pomegranate syrup from Iran, preserved lemon and harissa from North Africa. She has worked out simpler approaches to traditional dishes, using healthier ingredients and time-saving methods without ever sacrificing any of the extraordinary flavor, freshness, and texture that distinguish the cooking of this part of the world. Throughout these pages she draws on all four of the region's major cooking styles:         -        The refined haute cuisine of Iran, based on rice exquisitely prepared and embellished with a range of meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts         -        Arab cooking from Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan--at its finest today, and a good source for vegetable and bulgur wheat dishes         -        The legendary Turkish cuisine, with its kebabs, wheat and rice dishes, yogurt salads, savory pies, and syrupy pastries         -        North African cooking, particularly the splendid fare of Morocco, with its heady mix of hot and sweet, orchestrated to perfection in its couscous dishes and tagines From the tantalizing mezze--those succulent bites of filled fillo crescents and cigars, chopped salads, and stuffed morsels, as well as tahina, chickpeas, and eggplant in their many guises--to the skewered meats and savory stews and hearty grain and vegetable dishes, here is a rich array of the cooking that Americans embrace today. No longer considered exotic--all the essential ingredients are now available in supermarkets, and the more rare can be obtained through mail order sources (readily available on the Internet)--the foods of the Middle East are a boon to the home cook looking for healthy, inexpensive, flavorful, and wonderfully satisfying dishes, both for everyday eating and for special occasions.

30 review for The New Book of Middle Eastern Food

  1. 5 out of 5

    Foxthyme

    Note: This review will cover four books. The review will be the same in each of those books’ review sections. I was recently at a Mediterranean/Arabic restaurant that was bursting with flavourful foods. We’re not talking your usual fast food Mediterranean food. We talking herbs, spices, fresh and hot flat breads (pouffed from cooking). I realized that even though I have been using herbs and spices in my cooking, raising a lot of my own fresh herbs, I could be doing a whole lot more. So I searche Note: This review will cover four books. The review will be the same in each of those books’ review sections. I was recently at a Mediterranean/Arabic restaurant that was bursting with flavourful foods. We’re not talking your usual fast food Mediterranean food. We talking herbs, spices, fresh and hot flat breads (pouffed from cooking). I realized that even though I have been using herbs and spices in my cooking, raising a lot of my own fresh herbs, I could be doing a whole lot more. So I searched on Goodreads and Amazon, and I’ve ordered a number of books. I didn’t focus on one specific region, but ordered those books people rated highly, making decisions based on reviews. For instance, a reviewer noted that The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean did not have pictures (it indeed has none, except for the cover, as well as a few black and white drawings and small photos), however, the recipes and knowledge the author imparts are invaluable. I definitely know my go-to books are those with great ‘food porn’ pics and great recipes. So that one doesn’t visually capture or peek my interest. However the author's writing approach and recipe selection are wonderful. I would recommend future editions to include more visuals. Classic Lebanese Cuisine definitely has pictures. But they remind me of the older cookbook pics you’d get in the 70s. Not well lit. Could look more luscious. However, they still convinced me these dishes are and will be good when I cook them. The New Book of Middle Eastern Food was very highly reviewed. It does have food porn pics, but only in three sections of the book, so you won’t find pics alongside the recipes. The author includes classic cooking tales and tidbits throughout the book. Quite lovely. The Arab Table: Recipes & Culinary Traditions, is my favourite book of the four. It has luscious food porn pics in only one section of the book, however, the selection of recipes and the presentation, author's writing style and descriptions just sell this book for me. I’ll be cooking from this book for a long long time. Just listen to this shortened version of her Parsley Sauce recipe: 1 cup sesame paste (tahini), 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice plus more to taste, 1/2 tsp salt and more to taste, 3 cloves garlic mashed, 1 packed cup of chopped fresh parsley, 1 small tomato peeled seeded and chopped. Mix first three ingredients, add up to 1/2 cup cold water until you reach a consistency of thick cream. Then stir in the garlic, parsley, and tomatoes. Season to taste. She says, she finds this lemony sauce addictive. I am definitely going to make this one. Note to self: Add tahini to the shopping list. On my list of will be making is Mountain Bread with Zaatar. I love zaatar, a mix of oregano, thyme, sumac (sour), toasted sesame seeds, coarse salt, ground allspice, and caraway seeds (optional). You mix this with olive oil to make a spread that you smooth over the freshly cooked Mountain flatbread. Gorgeous! Her Oregano Salad? The picture is so fragrant with the scent of this herb it’s inspired me to raid my garden at every meal, adding something to every dish I am preparing. I have quite a variety of fresh herbs to work with, including Italian parsley, 5 varieties or so of thyme, winter and summer savoury, 3 types of oregano, marjoram, cilantro, chives, garlic chives, lovage, angelica, horseradish, French sorrel, 5 types of basil, mmm, I’m probably forgetting a few. Then there are all those great edible flowers, calendula, nasturtiums, pansies, spiderworts. Greens, fresh onions, garlic. Oh, yeah, then all the fruits and vegetables growing like mad. So if I were to choose only one book, The Arab Table wins dramatically. This summer is going to be a fantastic cooking one with my new best cookbook.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09x... Description: Claudia Roden's A Book of Middle Eastern Food was a landmark cookery book, first published in 1968. At a time when most Britons were enjoying cauliflower cheese and soggy Spaghetti Bolognese on a regular basis, she introduced chick peas, sharp flavoured marinades, aubergines and her most popular recipe - orange and almond cake. She is a cookery writer whose love of cooking and exploration of culture through recipes has placed her in a unique ro https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09x... Description: Claudia Roden's A Book of Middle Eastern Food was a landmark cookery book, first published in 1968. At a time when most Britons were enjoying cauliflower cheese and soggy Spaghetti Bolognese on a regular basis, she introduced chick peas, sharp flavoured marinades, aubergines and her most popular recipe - orange and almond cake. She is a cookery writer whose love of cooking and exploration of culture through recipes has placed her in a unique role. Jay Rayner of The Kitchen Cabinet describes her as 'One of the greatest British food writers working in Britain today - one before whom the likes of Nigel Slater, Simon Hopkinson, Nigella and Delia will all willingly bend the knee." Claudia was born in 1936 in Cairo. She was a foreign food correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times Magazine. Later, she hosted a BBC TV series, Claudia Roden's Mediterranean Cookery, and has won many awards and trophies. With cameos from Yotam Ottolenghi and Claudia's granddaughter, Nelly Wolman, this entertaining dramatisation shines a light on an extraordinary global cook, still traveling the world sharing recipes and cultures. Episode 1: Claudia remembers her early life in Cairo and the nostalgic dishes of her childhood. The dramatist Anjum Malik is an established scriptwriter, poet and performer. She is also a lecturer in creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. She was born in Saudi Arabia and has lived in Pakistan as well several cities in England. Cast Claudia Roden....................Tracy-Ann Oberman Nelly Douek........................Ann Marcuson Cesar Douek........................David Fleeshman Interviewer/Auntie................Perveen Hussain Episode 2: Now at art school in London, Claudia despairs of British cooking. Everything changes when her beloved parents are expelled from Egypt and join her. Episode 3: Claudia's quest for Middle Eastern recipes takes her to embassies, carpet shops and any gathering where she might meet fellow Middle Easterners. Cooking with her mother brings them even closer together. Episode 4: Claudia's research takes her to the Medieval section of the British Library, for ancient Arabic recipes that she tries out on her children. At last, she finds a publisher. Episode 5: As Claudia continues to research and share recipes from all over the world, she is celebrated by fellow cooks and still cooks with her family - this time her granddaugher, Nelly, rather than her mother.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Hana

    This is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks and it's one of the two or three that I consult almost every week. I got the original edition as a gift when I was a teenager and had already been cooking seriously for several years. Before this, I mostly followed the classical French style; this was my introduction (and my family's) to 'ethnic' cooking and I could not have had a better teacher than Claudia Roden. I used the first book to the point where it fell apart and I was thrilled to discover This is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks and it's one of the two or three that I consult almost every week. I got the original edition as a gift when I was a teenager and had already been cooking seriously for several years. Before this, I mostly followed the classical French style; this was my introduction (and my family's) to 'ethnic' cooking and I could not have had a better teacher than Claudia Roden. I used the first book to the point where it fell apart and I was thrilled to discover the new edition. Roden grew up in Eqypt so she knows her Middle Eastern cookery. The recipes are clear, easy to follow and easy to adapt if you don't live near a good Middle Eastern grocer. These days, for health and kosher kitchen reasons, this is my predominant cooking style: there are lots of recipes that are low fat, vegetarian, and non-dairy. All are full of flavor and even the kids like it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    The salads, mezze, chicken and cheeses are within my limited abilities, but I'll need my sisters for the lamb.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Before I go on to more critical remarks, I'd like to note that people should own this book, mostly because there are few substitutes with anything resembling the same range and scale. The book has far too many Greek and Moroccan and Tunisian etc. recipes for its title to make sense. This is the first problem. Or not, cause the Greeks and Moroccans and Tunisians etc. make really fucking good food. The second is that the recipes given are often for boring, mundane versions of the dishes. This is, of Before I go on to more critical remarks, I'd like to note that people should own this book, mostly because there are few substitutes with anything resembling the same range and scale. The book has far too many Greek and Moroccan and Tunisian etc. recipes for its title to make sense. This is the first problem. Or not, cause the Greeks and Moroccans and Tunisians etc. make really fucking good food. The second is that the recipes given are often for boring, mundane versions of the dishes. This is, of course, not always the case, but it is too often the case. This is partly a result of Roden being from Egypt, the cuisine of which doesn't generally match up to the much more sophisticated cuisines of Lebanon (and some other parts of the Levant) or Morocco etc. The spices given are frequently a bit off, or lacking, for the relevant dish. The syrups for the desserts are of the more common, stickier, more off-putting kinds found in the region, not of the more sophisticated and higher-quality kind. In short, if a recipe here is also to be found in books like those of Ottolenghi and Tamimi (e.g. Jerusalem, Ottolenghi, etc.) for the love of God follow the recipes in the other books. They're much better, much more refined, and make for better eating. But the thing is that most of these recipes are pretty hard to find in English-language cookbooks, making this book a pretty damn good resource. The cross-cultural nature of the thing is also appealing. You'll find recipes for tremendous vegetarian salads and main courses, lovely seafood, sumptuous meat dishes, simple stews, and beautiful desserts. I'd just recommend that you follow your instincts and maybe compare one or two recipes some of the time to arrive at the version that most suits your tastes and best reflects the dish's ability to shine. There's a bit of pandering to orientalist dispositions, but I suppose that doesn't really matter.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    This is a combination of recipes, folk tales, and cultural history. Really neat!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    So a cookbook might seem an unusual thing to read and review, and honestly, I own very few cookbooks. Most of my recipes are from friends or family members, or I find them on allrecipes.com . Having grown up a military brat, I have always tried a variety of new foods and cuisines. After college, I discovered a couple middle eastern recipes on allrecipes quite by chance- I was searching for ways to use some of the many tomatoes and cucumbers friends had given me from their gardens. As a result, I So a cookbook might seem an unusual thing to read and review, and honestly, I own very few cookbooks. Most of my recipes are from friends or family members, or I find them on allrecipes.com . Having grown up a military brat, I have always tried a variety of new foods and cuisines. After college, I discovered a couple middle eastern recipes on allrecipes quite by chance- I was searching for ways to use some of the many tomatoes and cucumbers friends had given me from their gardens. As a result, I learned how to make Fatoosh and Tabbouleh. Fast forward a few years later, and I had taken up belly dancing as a hobby. This led to an increased interest in the food, culture, and languages of the middle east, I found a few more recipes for mainstream standbys like Kofta, Dolma, and Falafel. Past that point, the internet hasn't helped me much with finding more authentic middle eastern recipes to try. I saw this book at Barnes & Noble and decided to check it out from the library to read through it at length. I love it. This book is like an encyclopaedia of middle eastern foods. It covers everything from salads, soups/stews, meats, vegetables, rice and couscous dishes, desserts, and drinks. I was especially delighted to find a recipe for pickled eggplant, which one of my favorite local restaurants recently ceased offering, due to a lack of popularity. When a recipe has multpile variations in different countries, the author includes the variables (by country) at the tail end of the recipe, so you can experiment with different versions until you find what you enjoy best. She also includes snippets of parables, folk stories, and songs with the recipes. Language, food, and fable are three things that closely tie cultures together, and I love the extra insight these additions bring to the book. I will be buying this for my own personal library, and cooking many of the recipes. For an experienced cook, who enjoys new things and exploring different cuisines, this would be a great resource.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Commonground

    My favorite ethnic cookbook, hands down. I actually have the old edition (sans the pictures), but this edition (pictured here) is the only one commercially available. Apparently, in the new edition the author has lowered the fat content in the recipes. This seems unnecessary to me since the cuisine places a strong emphasis on vegetables and grains, and most of the fat in recipes comes from olive oil. If it's healthy, why not indulge a bit, eh? I really like Roden's style. She lived throughout th My favorite ethnic cookbook, hands down. I actually have the old edition (sans the pictures), but this edition (pictured here) is the only one commercially available. Apparently, in the new edition the author has lowered the fat content in the recipes. This seems unnecessary to me since the cuisine places a strong emphasis on vegetables and grains, and most of the fat in recipes comes from olive oil. If it's healthy, why not indulge a bit, eh? I really like Roden's style. She lived throughout the Middle East and isn't beholden to a particular style of cooking. She gives brief descriptions and historical references for most recipies and then proceeds to inform the reader about different regional preparation techniques. If you appreciate a literate, knowledgeable and thorough style in a cookbook, you'll likely be pleased with this dense guide to Middle Eastern cuisine.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hirondelle

    This is an amazing book, a wide ranging cookbook, with lots of social-historical context, snippets from literature and charming personal anedoctes. I am sure I will pick this up many times. The recipe writing style is also precisely to my taste. The range is amazing and inspiring. I have only two small personal quibbles with this : first, my edition (this precise cover) has american units. I hate american units and always prefer to avoid them. second, the photos instead of being spread out through This is an amazing book, a wide ranging cookbook, with lots of social-historical context, snippets from literature and charming personal anedoctes. I am sure I will pick this up many times. The recipe writing style is also precisely to my taste. The range is amazing and inspiring. I have only two small personal quibbles with this : first, my edition (this precise cover) has american units. I hate american units and always prefer to avoid them. second, the photos instead of being spread out through the book are concentrated on a few extra pages in the middle of the book. It is more inspiring to have the recipe close to the photo! Cooks who really have to have photos on their cookbooks should be warned, there are photos only of a couple dozen of the recipes, though there are some very useful drawings and schemes within the text when necessary.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

    I love Middle Eastern food, and I love this book! While this book is not for beginners, those more experienced in the kitchen will love trying new and exotic flavors and cooking techniques. I made a fantastic feast of kebabs, baba ghanouj (roasted the egglpants under the brioler myself), hummus, tabouli, and HOMEMADE PITA BREAD (took a few days, no joke). But that's just the beginning...the book is full of so many delicious recipes that most AMericans have never heard or conceived of, regardless I love Middle Eastern food, and I love this book! While this book is not for beginners, those more experienced in the kitchen will love trying new and exotic flavors and cooking techniques. I made a fantastic feast of kebabs, baba ghanouj (roasted the egglpants under the brioler myself), hummus, tabouli, and HOMEMADE PITA BREAD (took a few days, no joke). But that's just the beginning...the book is full of so many delicious recipes that most AMericans have never heard or conceived of, regardless of how many gyro restaurants you've been to! Every recipe is so authentic, rich, delicious!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Finn

    Delicious recipes! Roden does a great job of noting regional variations as well, which is fantastic (ie. use fava beans for falafels from Lebanon but chickpeas for those from Israel). Instead of making a completely different recipe she just notes the possible ingredient swaps or additions at the end of each recipe making it really easy to navigate! My only complaint were that there were so few pictures- I'm very visual when flipping through my cookbooks :)

  12. 4 out of 5

    (a)lyss(a)

    My biggest complaint about this book is there aren't photos of the finished recipes. It's a pretty thorough book with recipes from a number of countries in the Middle East. There are also anecdotes from the author, stories that relate to food, and a bit of history about each group of food. There are also variations on recipes by country. It's a pretty intensive dive into the author's experiences with various food.

  13. 5 out of 5

    K.

    bois de Panama sahlab ritual baths hamine eggs Song to a Girl Goodnight, oh watermelon, oh red wheat waiting in a sack, I have waited beneath your window for the past four nights Without food or drink, listening for the sound of your voice. Goodnight, oh fresh ripening apricot, I want you for my wife, yet I am too shy to say it. amardine cream

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brendan Barnes

    This is hands down the most comprehensive middle eastern cookbook that i have ever come across. The recipes do not all have glossy pictures or lengthy descriptions, they are concise and to the point. Where this book shines is both the volume and breadth of recipes as well as the history behind many of them (multiple pages just about couscous!). I reference this book weekly for inspiration

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Poyourow

    excellent - I've tried many of these recipes

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marjon

    Great no-nonsense cooking book. The recipes are short and clear and offer variations. Must have!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Viriam

    Delightful

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paula Newnham

    My favourite

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I was recently at a Mediterranean/Arabic restaurant that was bursting with flavourful foods. We’re not talking your usual fast food Mediterranean food. We talking herbs, spices, fresh and hot flat breads (pouffed from cooking). I realized that even though I have been using herbs and spices in my cooking, raising a lot of my own fresh herbs, I could be doing a whole lot more.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    This book has been an invaluable resource in the midst of the current Middle Eastern food kick in which I find myself. It covers all the basics and is wide enough in scope to include foods from Turkey to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Levant. So far I have been pleased with the results of everything I've tried, though I've really just started to scratch the surface. I've made two tasty salads, one with couscous tomatoes and cucumber and the other, called Kefir, with tomatoes and bulgar. Kefir is Tu This book has been an invaluable resource in the midst of the current Middle Eastern food kick in which I find myself. It covers all the basics and is wide enough in scope to include foods from Turkey to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Levant. So far I have been pleased with the results of everything I've tried, though I've really just started to scratch the surface. I've made two tasty salads, one with couscous tomatoes and cucumber and the other, called Kefir, with tomatoes and bulgar. Kefir is Turkish and I made it to take with me to a Turkish barbeque hosted by two of my students who made kofta kebab. They assured me it was just like mother used to make. I've made two of the soups, avgolemono (mmm, lemony) and another Egyption tomato soup with rice. My eyes have been opened to home-made hummus using dried rather than canned chick-peas. It is amazing with the fluffy consistancy of mashed potatoes but rich and garlicy. Lastly, I have started a science experiment in my fridge with a jar of soon to be preserved lemons. This book has also helped me discover several middle-eastern markets out on Leetsdale Drive. The best one, across the street from the mosque, sold me turkish kebab swords for my brother's birthday present. It was so full of spices that I sneezed throughout the whole shopping trip, but I also came home with some extra-large capers, orange-blossom water and cadamom tea. One of the major benefits has been the healthy character of many of the recipes. Primarily vegitarian and using lots of olive oil and whole grains, I feel good about eating the results of my endevours. Also, it is cheap. If you make some of the more expensive condiments at home, like hummus and pickles, you can really be thrifty and frugal.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dixie Diamond

    I haven't had time to cook much out of this yet (the green beans with tomato sauce are great, although I reduced the oil), but reading it sure makes me hungry. There is a lot of text apart from the recipes, which some people might find intimidating, but since I'm also a history buff I appreciate having it there to put things in context. If I'm going to read cookbooks, anyway, I might as well learn something extra about the food, right? I'm looking forward to trying the recipes for ful medames, alt I haven't had time to cook much out of this yet (the green beans with tomato sauce are great, although I reduced the oil), but reading it sure makes me hungry. There is a lot of text apart from the recipes, which some people might find intimidating, but since I'm also a history buff I appreciate having it there to put things in context. If I'm going to read cookbooks, anyway, I might as well learn something extra about the food, right? I'm looking forward to trying the recipes for ful medames, although I can't help but envision it with a soft-boiled egg instead of a hard-boiled one, so the yolk could be mixed into the beans once the egg is broken. * * * * * * * Made the arnabeet bel lamoun the other day and I think I could become addicted to that stuff! And it's easy! I like cauliflower, anyway, but I'll never be tempted to add greasy cheese for extra flavor again if I can use lemon and a little bit of olive oil.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    This book has the same problems as many 'comprehensive' cookbooks--there is simply too much. I don't need eighteen different dips in the first chapter. In fact, I'd be lucky to try three. I need more photos and less dense text. I need more specific directions--what does a slice of feta cheese look like? If I decided it was what they sell in the average Canadian deli section of a grocery store, I'm pretty sure the recipe as it was written would be awful. Overall, while I appreciate that Claudia R This book has the same problems as many 'comprehensive' cookbooks--there is simply too much. I don't need eighteen different dips in the first chapter. In fact, I'd be lucky to try three. I need more photos and less dense text. I need more specific directions--what does a slice of feta cheese look like? If I decided it was what they sell in the average Canadian deli section of a grocery store, I'm pretty sure the recipe as it was written would be awful. Overall, while I appreciate that Claudia Roden is a significant figure in her culinary niche, this book was not the medium that delivered her know-how in a useful/attractive/clear way. The only reason I do not rate it one star is because I do believe that there IS a place for encyclopedia-style cookbooks in the world, this particular one was just not very well done nor do I generally like that style of cookbook.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Zaynaz

    I own one of the older editions of this cookbook (I think it was published in 1997?) which doesn't have pictures. This is an exhaustive and excellent overview of Middle Eastern, North African and even some Greek cooking. The wara einab/stuffed vine leaves recipe is the first that actually worked for me, and I've cooked a few other dishes from the book too. But what I really value this book for is the context it gives the food- the interesting stories, anecdotes, the variations. As funny as it mi I own one of the older editions of this cookbook (I think it was published in 1997?) which doesn't have pictures. This is an exhaustive and excellent overview of Middle Eastern, North African and even some Greek cooking. The wara einab/stuffed vine leaves recipe is the first that actually worked for me, and I've cooked a few other dishes from the book too. But what I really value this book for is the context it gives the food- the interesting stories, anecdotes, the variations. As funny as it might seem this is a cook book you can read, rather than just lists of recipes. I'm tempted to buy both the updated edition and Ms Roden's books on Spanish and Jewish cooking. And I'm definitely buying her 'Arabesque' cookbook, I have a recipe I copied out of a library copy and it's one of my favorite dishes. The author's writing style is so entertaining and approachable.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    So far so good! I started reading this with sticky notes next to me to mark recipes I wanted to try. It soon became apparent that sticky notes were not needed - everything sounded fantastic (but the brains - not for me). Tonight, I made the Ferakh bel Tamatem (Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Tomatoes) and Ful Ahdar bel Roz wal Laban Zabadi (Fresh green fava beans with rice and yogurt), though I used green peas instead of fava beans. Wow. Awesome dinner that even my 3-year-old liked. And my picky 5- So far so good! I started reading this with sticky notes next to me to mark recipes I wanted to try. It soon became apparent that sticky notes were not needed - everything sounded fantastic (but the brains - not for me). Tonight, I made the Ferakh bel Tamatem (Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Tomatoes) and Ful Ahdar bel Roz wal Laban Zabadi (Fresh green fava beans with rice and yogurt), though I used green peas instead of fava beans. Wow. Awesome dinner that even my 3-year-old liked. And my picky 5-year-old wants leftovers tomorrow for lunch. Simple to prepare, simple to make, fabulous eating - the best combination in a cookbook!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Rice

    Calling this book by Claudia Roden a cookbook just doesn't do it justice. It's a story book and includes ancient dishes from across time. I've made several dishes from this book of wonders, and they have all been a great hit and many have become a main staple in everyday life. Who knew adding a little lemon juice or adding a small dollop of fried green onions to a bowl of soup could make such an overall difference in taste? This cookbook isn't all recipes.. it lends history and stories of the or Calling this book by Claudia Roden a cookbook just doesn't do it justice. It's a story book and includes ancient dishes from across time. I've made several dishes from this book of wonders, and they have all been a great hit and many have become a main staple in everyday life. Who knew adding a little lemon juice or adding a small dollop of fried green onions to a bowl of soup could make such an overall difference in taste? This cookbook isn't all recipes.. it lends history and stories of the origins of rice, spices, herbs, tradition and more. The feta cigars are 'to die for' and 'one more please' . (said at least 12 wise men and women at the same time)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jason Hoolsema

    An excellent manual for Middle Eastern cooking This vast collection of exhaustively researched recipes, accompanied with informative and often charming historical anecdotes and stories of the author's childhood in Egypt and travels in the region, is a must for anyone with an interest in Middle Eastern or North African food. Recipes are easy to follow, and make an effort to provide ingredients and methods that are feasible for the modern Western cook. I would have appreciated more illustrations, p An excellent manual for Middle Eastern cooking This vast collection of exhaustively researched recipes, accompanied with informative and often charming historical anecdotes and stories of the author's childhood in Egypt and travels in the region, is a must for anyone with an interest in Middle Eastern or North African food. Recipes are easy to follow, and make an effort to provide ingredients and methods that are feasible for the modern Western cook. I would have appreciated more illustrations, particularly pictures of at least some of the dishes. However, that will certainly not stop me from cooking many of these great recipes!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I want to like this book more than I do, and I'll keep giving it more chances, but I've found a lot of the recipes, while not exactly dull, to be unremarkable. To be fair, I haven't cooked through even a fifth of the book yet. It does serve as a solid way to get a broad regional handle on ME food from one source, and Claudia Roden writes beautifully. If I were to re-try those recipes I have cooked, I'd probably triple her herb / spice quantities to achieve a more authentic replication of taste.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Asma

    i liked the book because it has some recipes from different middle eastern countries. however i found some of the recipes not exactly the way they suppose to be according to what i know and the igredients i am used to. i know there are the same name for a recipe but with different methods and ingredients for this reason the name of the book should mention something that gives the reader the impretion that the recipes are with a twist. overall it is informative because i got to know some other re i liked the book because it has some recipes from different middle eastern countries. however i found some of the recipes not exactly the way they suppose to be according to what i know and the igredients i am used to. i know there are the same name for a recipe but with different methods and ingredients for this reason the name of the book should mention something that gives the reader the impretion that the recipes are with a twist. overall it is informative because i got to know some other recipes and food i am not familiar with.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    One of my favorites for Middle Eastern food. Two other favorites are A Taste of Persia by Najmieh K. Batmanglij and The Arab Table by May S. Bsiu. I am not good cook, but I love to read cookbooks. These three books are very accessible. I can enjoy reading them, and I can actually make a dish from one of their recipies from time to time withiut having to learn a complicated new skill, purchase some new expensive cooking gadget, or spending days on the internet or a phone trying to find ingredients One of my favorites for Middle Eastern food. Two other favorites are A Taste of Persia by Najmieh K. Batmanglij and The Arab Table by May S. Bsiu. I am not good cook, but I love to read cookbooks. These three books are very accessible. I can enjoy reading them, and I can actually make a dish from one of their recipies from time to time withiut having to learn a complicated new skill, purchase some new expensive cooking gadget, or spending days on the internet or a phone trying to find ingredients I will probably use only once.

  30. 4 out of 5

    P.

    I actually haven't cooked anything from this yet, but I was so excited by it when I got it from the library that I bought it. It has a recipe for Mohomara, a walnut-based spread that I have only seen in one other restaurant before (and love), and it's pretty and well-written. update: I made little beef & onion "triangles" from this book yesterday and I want to be eating them constantly. Although the filo folding diagram was confusing and I did it free form. I actually haven't cooked anything from this yet, but I was so excited by it when I got it from the library that I bought it. It has a recipe for Mohomara, a walnut-based spread that I have only seen in one other restaurant before (and love), and it's pretty and well-written. update: I made little beef & onion "triangles" from this book yesterday and I want to be eating them constantly. Although the filo folding diagram was confusing and I did it free form.

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