The Arab Table: Recipes and Culinary Traditions
by : May Bsisu
It is one of the world's oldest and most intriguing cuisines, yet few have explored the diverse dishes and enchanting flavors of Arab cookery beyond hummus and tabouleh. In 188 recipes, The Arab Table introduces home cooks to the fresh foods, exquisite tastes, and generous spirit of the Arab table. May S. Bsisu, who has lived and cooked in Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, England, and now the United States, takes you along a reassuringly down-to-earth and warmly personal path through exciting culinary territory. The Arab Table focuses intimately on the foods of Arab countries such as Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria. The book offers a bountiful range of appealing dishes: cold and hot mezza, or little dishes; vibrant salads and fresh vegetable preparations; savory soups, stews, and hearty casseroles; baked and grilled meats, poultry, and fish; cooling drinks; and ambrosial desserts. There are recipes for familiar dishes including Falafel, Chicken and Lamb Kebabs, and Baklava, as well as a diverse selection of lesser known delights greatly enjoyed around the world, such as Eggplant Pomegranate Salad, Zucchini with Bread and Mint, Grilled Halloumi Cheese Triangles, and Arab Flatbread. Celebration dishes, the cornerstone of Arab cuisine, include Moroccan and Lebanese Couscous, Baked Lamb with Rice and Chickpeas, and Baked Sea Bass with Rice and Caramelized Onions. No Arab cookbook would be complete without an ample selection of soups and stews, the customary way to break the fast at the end of each day during Ramadan. The Arab table is also well known for its sweets: Semolina Pistachio Layer Cake, Milk Pudding, and, of course, date-, nut-, and cream-filled pastries perfumed withrose and orange-blossom water are just a sampling of the desserts included here. Along with these treasured recipes collected from May's extended family, friends, neighbors, and her own discoveries, The Arab Table is also a resource for learning about the traditions and customs associated with this time-honored cuisine. Throughout, essays on Arab holidays, from Eid Al Adha, the feast celebrating the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca, to Ramadan and Mubarakeh, the celebration for the birth of a baby, are explained and menus are provided for each. May enlightens readers as to customary greetings (How do you say Happy Ramadan?), gifts (What do you bring to an Arab home during Ramadan?), and wishes (How do you acknowledge the birth of a baby?) that are traditionally extended during these special occasions. Now you can bring the abundance and flavors of The Arab Table to your table.