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The New Book of Middle Eastern Food (1968)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375405062, Hardcover)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
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:27 -0400)
On 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. 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. Claudia Roden's seminal book on Middle Eastern cooking, which James Beard called "a landmark in the field of cookery" when it was first published in 1972, is made new-with additional recipes, extensive variations, & new techniques, the fruit of 30 years of travel & research. There are now more than 800 recipes (including variations) from Morocco & Tunisia, Turkey & Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Persia, & other Middle Eastern countries. They represent the best of the Middle East, & they stress simple dishes, healthful ingredients, & time-saving methods, with no sacrifice of extraordinary variety or delectable flavor. Richly infused with Roden's own memories of growing up in Egypt & with stories of her travels, the book is an excursion not merely into the cuisine of the region but into its culture as well. It is a book that both preserves the past & is alive with the present: a masterpiece made even more masterly-the quintessential Middle Eastern cookbook. 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.
An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.
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