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Sweet Delights from a Thousand and One Nights: The Story of Traditional Arab Sweets [Hardcover]

Habeeb Salloum , Muna Salloum , Leila Salloum Elias

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Book Description

30 Jun 2013
Which dessert is named after the heroic third-century Queen Zenobia of Palmyra? Which luscious rice pudding shares its name with the eighth-century Abbasid Caliph al-Ma'mun? How does one make the perfect Baqlawah? Blending cookery with culture and recipes with history, this is the fascinating and delectable story of traditional Arab sweets. The authors here take us on a culinary journey across Iraq, Syria, Egypt and al-Andalus, presenting readers with clear and easy-to-recreate recipes from across the medieval Arab world.


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Review

'Gastronomic pleasures and serious scholarship are combined in Sweet Delights From A Thousand and One Nights, a book of discovery that takes us back to the world of the sweet-toothed medieval caliphs and their feasts and celebrations.'

(Robert Irwin, the author of The Arabian Nights: A Companion)

'This is a luscious treasury of stories from history as rich and involving as Scheherazade's One Thousand and One Nights.'

--(Metro)

'A fascinating historical read plus an extensive treasury of recipes from a vibrant region.'

--(Custard Pie Blog)

About the Author

Habeeb Salloum is a freelance writer and author. He has written several books, including Arabic Contributions to the English Vocabulary and Journeys Back to Arab Spain, in addition to five cookbooks that deal with Arab cuisine. Muna Salloum is a freelance writer and author.  She holds an MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies from the University of Toronto, specialising in the socio-economic history of the Arabs in Spain. She is the author of The Sweets of Araby, co-authored by Leila Salloum Elias. Leila Salloum Elias is a freelance writer and author.  She holds an MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies from the University of Toronto, specialising in Arabic literature in Arab Spain and the story of the early Arab immigrants to the US. She too is the author of several books, including The Sweets of Araby, co-authored by Muna Salloum. Habeeb, Muna and Leila have also co-authored a forthcoming book titled Medieval Delights from the Arabian Nights: Recreating the Kitchen of Medieval Arabs.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sweet Delight to read and use 5 Dec 2013
By Lilinah - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have worked with a number of the recipes included in the book on my own, as i do a lot of medieval Middle Eastern cooking. It is always helpful to see how other experienced cooks approach the material. Their familiarity with the techniques involved was also helpful. And there are many recipes in this book that are from cookbooks that have not yet been translated into English, so it has allowed me to expand my repertoire.

I don't agree with many of their substitutions for mastic or musk or some other unusual ingredients, since the ones they chose are so unrelated in flavor. But for cooks unfamiliar with this material, the Salloum family gives both the original medieval recipe translated into clear English and a modern version that can be cooked at home.

I recommend this book to those both to those interested in modern Middle Eastern cuisine and to those cooking historical medieval Middle Eastern recipes.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great history and recipes 18 Feb 2014
By Zina Rayes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We do a lot of middle eastern cooking and baking, and this gives us more connection to the history. Thank you.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice cover. Five stars to the designer 7 Dec 2013
By a reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The title promises to tell the story of traditional Arab sweets. But going through the book I did not find it. The book is a series of recipes: first the original version, second the authors' rendition of it, and third a modern equivalent, with some anecdotes, verses and sometimes explanatory notes on ingredients and dishes. What is really lacking here, so that we may talk of a story indeed, is the necessary cohesive narrative and analytic `cement.'

To begin with, the recipes are grouped categorically, such as pastries, cookies, cakes, etc., which would have been acceptable had the authors taken the time to reflect on each category and provided an introductory section to each one of them. Honestly, I felt lost in the mazes of the endless series of recipes, no direction, no plan, nothing.

The general introduction was not helpful either, being severely inadequate and brief, several pages, a bunch of undeveloped notes. No story to tell here, either. In a book dedicated entirely to sweets, how can an essential ingredient like sugar be covered in just few paragraphs?

Besides, more care needed to have been taken of the 32 photos of dishes bunched in the middle of the book. Most of them seem to suffer from lack of light, focus and technical expertise.

The sure winner here is the cover designer.
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