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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 23 November 2002
...make it this one. The recipes easy to follow, and Roden's writing style is peppered with amusing anecdotes about her childhood in Egypt and historical information that make this book a good read outside the kitchen as well as in.
Whereas many Middle Eastern cookbooks leave out ingredients (presumably to make the dishes seem less scary to Western palates), Roden's recipes are authentic. Many include alternate suggestions and regional variations from family recipes submitted by her friends and readers from across the region, so chances are you'll always have the proper ingredients to hand.
I cook from this regularly, both for everyday meals and special occasions (the appetiser section has loads of dishes that are great for parties). Middle Eastern cooking seems to be designed to make expensive ingredients like meat go a long way, and (although they're not flagged as such) there's some great recipes here if you're on a tight budget.
In other words...absolutely essential.
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on 12 May 2000
I had one of the earlier editions of this book and it taught me how to cook. The new edition is even better than the previous. How is that possible? Maybe I have, with age, learned to appreciate culinary culture more than I used to.
I am a Turkish woman and most of the recepies Roden explains in her marvellous book are no strangers to me. I have ben living abroad now for many years. Every time I open Roden's book I can smell my grandmother's kitchen.
Here is a personal "thank you" to Claudia Roden from me. Maashallah, forty one times, as we say back home.
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on 22 January 2000
This cookbook celebrates the culinary diversity of the Middle East with a wealth of traditional recipes from many countries. The author's enthusiasm for the dishes she describes is evident throughout, and the recipes span the spectrum from everyday meals to more elaborate preparations for holidays and special occasions. Most of the ingredients are readily available, and the food is nutritious, flavorful, and economical. Whether you are an experienced cook or only a beginner, this book has something for you.
Also recommended: "Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen: A Culinary Journey through Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan," by Sonia Uvezian. This seminal work captures the essence of the region's traditional foods in hundreds of distinctive recipes interspersed with superlative cultural and culinary background material, including unparalleled information on ingredients and utensils.
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on 18 June 2002
I have always been a fan of Claudia Roden's books but this is her best yet. The background text is fascinating and the recipes are always reliable, which is not always the case with this type of book. I was a bit dubious about buying a cookery book without any photographs of the food, but quite honestly it doesn't need them - the descriptions are more than enough to give a picture of how it should look. It is the most used book in my kitchen and never fails to inspire me when I'm having trouble deciding what to cook. If you only buy one Middle Eastern cookery book, make sure it is this one.
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on 5 January 2003
I bought Claudia Roden's original book in 1973 (the year my son was born) and have used it regularly ever since. He has just rung me for a "hummus" recipe and to ask what to do with the extra chick peas he has soaked. Naturally, I immediately turned to my copy of "A Book of Middle Eastern Food", found a recipe for "Chick peas with Potatoes and Tomatoes" which I handed on to him, and, hoping it was still in print, decided to order him a copy. I am delighted to find there is a new book, and feel sure he will enjoy it as much as I have the old one.
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on 20 May 1999
I bought the original edition many years ago, and I found it so useful and delightful to read that I bought the new one as soon as it came out. The author mixes folk tales with personal anecdotes, an outline of the origins of certain dishes and of course, a bounty of clear and wonderful recipes. Each one of them is the best I have ever found for the dish in question, well explained, and comes out perfect every time. Thanks to Mrs Roden I have opened a treasure chest, her book is a voyage of discovery of Middle Eastern food, tradition, way of life, folklore, etc. The sun shines on every page!
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on 19 October 2005
What a delight to find this book. All of the other reviewers are spot on with their championing of this treasure-trove of gorgeous recipes. As with her other books, Roden gives amusing and interesting anecdotes while relating the recipes and you can imagine the communities and individuals whence the recipes derive.
It is a must for any kitchen, with informal and easy to follow recipes making effortlessly delicious meals and treats.
Highly recommended!
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on 27 July 2013
My original copy of this great book was a present from a girlfriend in 1982 - it's been used ever since but sadly has started to become unhinged. The cost of the book back in the day was £1.95 the cover price is now £25 - but bought from Amazon for £16 a bargain even allowing for price inflation. Nearly all of the original recipes are contained plus a feast of additional ones to caress the taste buds. The chapters are headed up with graytone water colours of various Middle Eastern sights and still sprinkled with endearing stories of a life that once was. You are not cooking unless you have this book - get surprised and enchanted.
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on 15 November 2011
What a great cookbook! It's not like one of those new cookbooks full of fancy images but it's "oldschool"- full of tasty recipes (it also contains some nice images). The book is full of easy to follow recipes that produce utterly delicious food. Highly recommended to everybody!
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on 12 January 2014
This is a penguin compact paperback without pics, beware. But lovely street scene sketches throughout the book. the recipes are tasty, simple for most, with not too many ingredients or hard to get ones. This is a mix of recipes from Morocco to Iran, but listed by courses/main ingredients, rather than by their origin.
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