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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

VINE VOICEon 13 June 2009
Paula Wolfert has here collected many wonderful recipes demonstrating a real love and understanding of food and flavours. A large proportion of the recipes are suitable as part of a mezze spread. The book includes such delights as muhamarra (a roasted red pepper, walnut and pomegranate dip), a Georgian walnut and pomegranate sauce, Turkish tarator (a nut and garlic sauce), za'atar pie (a herby, spicy bread), manti (a Turkish ravioli with a minced lamb filling), aubergine in pomegranate sauce, fifty different variations of kibbeh (balls of bulghur wheat and ground lamb with various other ingredients or fillings), and kofte with loquats.

Not a stylish book by any means - many American cookbooks seem to have evaded the attentions of publishing stylists unlike in the UK - there are not even any photographs of the food herein (just the occasional small blurry black and white photograph of a wizened Middle Eastern woman in her kitchen). Normally I would mark a book down for such an omission, but the selection of recipes more than makes up for that.
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on 13 August 2016
Authentic,intensive and well researched.As far as I know, it has been out of print for years but it is well worth hunting a copy down. For me , nothing beats Claudia Rosen on the food around the Mediterranean , but Paula Wolfert adds another layer to this fascinating subject. The only drawback for us European cooks is that all measurements and names of certain foods are in American. I.e. confectioner's sugar, scallions, hubbard squash, Near Eastern Pepper etc.Annoying but not insuperable. Also an informative read. Lovely.
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on 19 March 1999
I cannot agree with previous reviewer. This is the very best cookbook on this area on the market today. Great recipes and memorable prose. Author makes these cuisines come alive! This book won both the Julia Child and the James Beard awards...and both prizes were well reserved!
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on 16 June 1998
This is the most exciting cookbook I have discovered. It is not only entertaining and inspirational to read but every dish has a depth and intensity of flavour which excites not only my family but every guest who has sampled it. My reputation as a cook has been enhanced and my enthusiasm for trying new recipes regularly is never diminished. The research that has gone into this book and love for the people who have introduced her to their recipes is apparent on every page.Some of the dishes take time to prepare but many can be made in advance and are great for entertaining small or large crowds.
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on 18 February 1999
This cookbook does not give the reader/cook a chance to learn the basic techniques and tastes of the cuisine, but concentrates on particular recipes with lists of ingredients so esoteric that even when I was living in the eastern Mediterranean I was unable to prepare them. And because this is such a recipe-particular rather than general taste-and-technique cookbook, it is difficult to be flexible with the recipes in terms of substitution. This is a cookbook for the purist and not for the practical cook.
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