Five Cookbooks for an Authentic Taste of the Middle East
The Middle East is home to a wonderful array of tastes and cuisines. From the Lebanese or Israeli shores of the Mediterranean, to the far deserts of Saudi Arabia, what is often called "Middle Eastern cuisine" in reality can differ greatly from country to country.
Lebanese cuisine (often hailed as the world's best) can range from a hearty stew of lentils and rice, to a mezze – a fresh spread of meats, vegetables, pastries, and spreads – that is meant to be shared amongst a full table of family and friends. In Egypt, food is laden with butterfat and carbs, and every meal is followed by a glass of fresh mint steeped in black tea. In Jordan, traditional dishes like mansaf, rice piled high with nuts and lamb, are served on oversized sharing plates, and are eaten without utensils.
Arab chefs can thank the region's terrain and arguably biblical weather patterns for the rich variety of crops and ingredients, and it's easy to see why Middle Eastern cuisine has seen a renaissance in the Western world today.
While those of us in colder climates cannot possibly hope for watermelon as sweet as that of Egypt's, or crisp cucumbers like those in Lebanon, these cookbooks may help in the attempt to recreate the experience.
This least is by no means exhaustive, and I would love to hear any recommendations for what should be added. If you know of any great Middle Eastern cookbooks, please tell me in the comments below!
Image via Red Online.