Arab Food and Cuisine — Inspirations

Communal Eating (Used with permission.)
Communal Eating, Women's Work (Used with permission.)

Cooking in the Arab world, in general, adheres to one of the most healthful food patterns on earth, probably healthier in many ways than the Mediterranean model (and that is the stuff of a special future post). The freshest food, the most beautiful colors, the greatest imagination in wielding the pan, this is what the food of the Middle East offers.

Carrying Wood, Where it All Begins (Used with permission of Antonio Perez Rio.)
Carrying Wood, Where it All Begins (Used with permission of Antonio Perez Rio.)

But most of all, I hold women like this woman in my heart, because she is Everywoman, Arab and non-Arab, who worked to feed her children and family. Gathering wood, starting the morning fire, heating water, cooking food, searching for food in times of drought, all these tasks go unsung. The cookbooks and books about food that weigh down this list and others like it, the shelves of libraries and bookstores, all this came about ultimately because of women’s labor and outright creativity.

The following bibliography [last updated September 7, 2009] is but a small sampling of the material available in English on Arab cooking. Many authors, cooks, and chroniclers share their experiences in the kitchen with us. All of these people certainly make my life richer. And all of our lives fuller, for that matter. I wish everyone could immerse themselves in the kitchen culture of people in other parts of the world, other than the United States, for there is so much to learn.

Books on Arab Cuisine in the Virginia Tech Library

Abourezk, Sanaa. Secrets of healthy Middle Eastern cuisine. New York : Interlink Books, 2000.

Atiyeh, Wadeeha. Scheherazade cooks! Great Neck, N.Y., Channel Press [1960].

Couscous (Used with permission of Jack & Tina Fussell.)
Couscous (Used with permission of Jack & Tina Fussell.)

Carrier, Robert. Taste of Morocco. London : Boxtree, 1996, c1987.

Dagher, Shawky M., ed. Traditional foods in the Near East. Rome : Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1991.

Gelder, G. J. H. van. God’s banquet : food in classical Arabic literature. New York : Columbia University Press, 2000.

Goldman, Rivka. Mama Nazima’s Jewish-Iraqi Cuisine: Cuisine, History, Cultural References, and Survival Stories of the Jewish Iraqi. New York: Hippocrene Books, 2006.

Heine, Peter. Food Culture in the Near East, Middle East, and North Africa. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2004.

Ibrahim, Lamees. The Iraqi Cookbook. Northhampton, Mass.: Interlink Book, 2009.

Karaoglan, Aida. A gourmet’s delight : selected recipes from the haute cuisine of  the Arab world. 2d ed. 1976. (Also in Library of Congress.)

Nasrallah, Nawal. Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens: Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq’s Tenth-Century Baghdadi Cookbook. English Translation with Introduction and Glossary. Leiden, New York: Brill, 2007.

Nickles, Harry G. et al. Middle Eastern cooking. Rev. ed. New York : Time-Life Books, 1976, c1969. (Plus recipe booklet.)

Lemons and Olives, Oh My! (Used with permission of Scott Ashkenaz.)
Lemons and Olives, Oh My! (Used with permission of Scott Ashkenaz.)

Perry, Charles, translator. A Baghdad Cookery Book. Petits Propos Culinaires 79. Prospect Books, 2005.

Roden, Claudia. A book of Middle Eastern food. [1st American ed.] [New York] Knopf; [distributed by Random House] 1972. [Reprinted in 1974.]

Shahin, Mariam. Palestine : a guide. 1st American ed. Northampton Mass. : Interlink Books, 2005.

Waines, David. In a caliph’s kitchen. London : Riad El-Rayyes, 1989.

Sampling of books (in English) on Arab cuisine in the Library of Congress, searched only by Cookery-Arab; Cookery-Middle East yields many more, some duplication.

Ramadan in Morocco, Marrakesh (Used with permission of Phil Gregson.)
Ramadan in Morocco, Marrakesh (Used with permission of Phil Gregson.)

Al Hashimi, Miriam. Traditional Arabic cooking. Reading, UK : Garnet Pub., c1993.

Bsisu, May. The Arab table: recipes and culinary traditions. New York : William Morrow, 2005.

Joly, E. Gertrude. The English-Arabic cookery book. [Beirut, 1950].

Khayat, Marie Karam and Margaret Clark Keatinge. Food from the Arab world. Beirut [Khayat’s] 1969 [i.e.

Sfijas (Permission pending.)
Sfijas (Used with permission.)

Nasarallah. Annals of the Caliphs’ kitchens: Ibn Sayyar al Warraq’s Tenth-century Bahgdadi cookbook (Islamic History and Civilization). Brill, 2007. Bilingual edition.

Philippou, Margaret Joy. 101 Arabian delights: a book of Arabic cookery. Brighton, Clifton Books, 1969.

Rodinson, Maxime, Arberry, A. J., and Perry, Charles. Medieval Arab Cookery: Essays and Translations. Prospect Books, 2006.

Salloum, Habeeb. From the lands of figs and olives : over 300 delicious and

unusual recipes from the Middle East and North Africa. New York : Interlink Books, 1995.

Scott, David. Traditional Arab cookery. London : Rider, 1983.

Weiss-Armush, Anne Marie. The Arabian delights cookbook : Mediterranean cuisines from Mecca to Marrakesh. Los Angeles : Lowell House ; Chicago : Contemporary Books, c1994.

My Arab/Middle Eastern cookbook library (selected):

Abdennour, Sami. Egyptian cooking : a practical guide. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1998.

Baklava (Used with permission of Michelle Snow.)
Baklava (Used with permission of Michelle Snow.)

Abu-Jaber, Diana. Crescent (a novel). New York : W. W. Norton, 2003.

_____. The Language of baklava. New York : Pantheon Books, 2005.

Corey, Helen. Syrian cookery. Garden City, New York : Doubleday & Co. 1962.

Hamady, Mary Laird. Lebanese mountain cookery. Boston : David Godine, 1987.

Haroutunian, Arlo der. North African cookery. London : Century Publishing, 1985.

_____. Patisserie of the eastern Mediterranean. New York : McGraw-Hill, 1989.

Karim, Kay. From Mosul to America: Iraqi family cookbook. Iraqi Family Cookbook (self-published), 2005.

Malouf, Greg and Lucy. Artichoke to Za-atar: Modern Middel Eastern food. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.

Morse, Kitty. North Africa : the vegetarian table. San Francisco : Chronicle Books, 1996.

Nasrallah, Nawal. Delights from the garden of Eden : a cookbook and history of the Iraqi cuisine. 1st Books, 2003.

Shwarma (Used with permission of Mikhail Esteves.)
Shwarma (Used with permission of Mikhail Esteves.)

Roden, Claudia. A new book of Middle Eastern food. New York : Penguin, 1985.

Rossant, Colette. Memories of a lost Egypt : a memoir with recipes. New York : Clarkson Potter, 1999.

Uvezian, Sonia. Recipes and remembrances from an eastern Mediterranean kitchen. Northbrook, Ill. : The Siamanto Press, 2001.

Ward, Susan. Lebanese cooking : an introduction to this special Middle Eastern cuisine. Secaucus, New Kersey : Chartwell Books, 1992.

Masouf Fish (Used with permission.)
Maskouf Fish (Used with permission.)

Wolfert, Paula. Couscous and other good food from Morocco. New York : Harper & Row, 1973.

_____. The cooking of the eastern Mediterranean: 215 healthy, vibrant, and inspired recipes. New York : HarperCollins, 1994.

_____. Mediterranean greens and grains : a book of savory, sun-drenched recipes. New York : HarperCollins, 1998.

Zaouali, Lilia. Medieval cuisine of the Islamic world. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.

Zubaida, Sami and Richard Tapper, eds. Culinary cultures of the Middle East. New York : I. B. Tauris Publishers, 1994. [Published in paperback in 2001 under the title A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East.]

© 2008 C. Bertelsen

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. I will be adding to this bibliography, time permitting, including Charles Perry’s work, of which I am quite aware, as well as Nawal Nasrallah’s book, Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens.

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