Customer Review

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A collation of authentic, classic recipes and modern restaurant-style creations, 19 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Malouf: New Middle Eastern Food (Hardcover)
Greg and Lucy Malouf have previously written, among others, three books relating "culinary journeys" through the Middle East - Saha (Lebanon and Syria), Turquoise (Turkey) and Saraban (Iran). Some nice recipes in these for sure, but they were much more coffee table books than cookbooks, with a large proportion of the text relating their journey and the photography being less food related and more what they like to call "evocative", revolving around old blokes lounging around smoking ciggies and so on.

Thankfully, this new release is all about the food. It perhaps does not come as too much of a surprise to learn that there is a significant amount of recycling here, with a considerable number of recipes carried across verbatim from those earlier publications. There are however more than enough fresh modern creations herein to make it a worthwhile purchase even for those who have the earlier three.

Probably around a third of the recipes have photographs. The photography is excellent, and many of the recipes, especially the modern creations, are beautifully styled and worthy of presentation at top fancy restaurants - plenty of colour with use of edible flowers for example. One minor annoyance is that where some photographs are overleaf rather than opposite the recipes' text, the photographs are not labelled. One slightly greater annoyance is the recipe text, which is in a not particularly large font and in too light a grey colour - not necessarily easy to read for some of us. Yet another instance of the self-indulgence of the book stylists overriding usability and practicality.

This would be a definite five star book, but loses one star through a combination of rehashing existing recipes, the not so easy to read text, plus it would be nicer to have more of the excellent photography for more of the dishes.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Jan 2012 07:07:43 GMT
I was given this book for Christmas. I agree wholeheartedly with your accurate review. I cannot believe how dreadful the font is on this book. A couple of weeks ago I emailed Mr Malouf expressing my disappointment with so many aspects of this book but have not as yet heard from him.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Jan 2012 12:04:43 GMT
E. L. Wisty says:
Your present buyer knows you only too well BR! I wonder how much input Malouf had, or even how much control he was allowed, over the styling. Maybe after he had handed over the recipes it was all in the hands of the self-indulgent stylists (who clearly never cook from cookbooks themselves) thereafter.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Jan 2012 17:56:36 GMT
Last edited by the author on 6 Jan 2012 17:57:35 GMT
Precisely. Having previously specialised in reading difficulties, a coloured overlay (try the cheap sheets from Smith's) might help a little.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Jan 2012 18:07:54 GMT
E. L. Wisty says:
Interesting idea - I hadn't thought of that. A younger man than I might not have such difficulties, but I'm now entering the age of reading glasses.

"The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank"

Hang on - SIXTH age? I'm not THAT old!

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2012 15:04:08 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jan 2012 15:04:23 GMT
Mr Malouf actually sent a charming lengthy and considered reply, so I adore him even more now.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2012 16:26:11 GMT
E. L. Wisty says:
That's nice - there's probably not many would do that.

Posted on 25 Mar 2012 13:05:36 BDT
Sax 'n' snax says:
I took a look at this book whilst frittering away a few minutes in Dubai airport. In a way it is beautiful to look at (like an art book), but as a cookbook it is simply over-designed and bulky. I decided not to buy.

And why does everyone want more and more photos in cookbooks these days? I want something I can read in bed - not something that would give me arm ache after 30 seconds trying to hold it. Give me Claudia Roden (with no photos) in the Penguin Cookery Library series any day.
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Location: Devon, UK

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