Anyone who knows us well knows how much we love the flavors of Arabic cuisine. Because of this love, for our cookbook review of the week, we team up with our friends from Phaidon to bring you the review of The Arabesque Table cookbook.
Acclaimed author Reem Kassis returns with a one-of-a-kind collection of original contemporary recipes tracing the rich history of Arab cuisine. The Arabesque Table takes inspiration from the traditional food of the Arab world, weaving Reem Kassis's historic research and cultural knowledge with her contemporary interpretations of an ancient, remarkably diverse cuisine.
In her personal, engaging voice, Reem bridges past and present to open up the world of Arabic cooking today, showcasing a mosaic of 130 delicious, accessible home recipes. Organized by primary ingredients, the recipes and vivid photographs bring the dishes to life while her narrative offers not only a sense of taste, but a sense of time and place as well.
More than just a compilation of modern Arabic recipes, The Arabesque Table celebrates the evolution of Arab cuisine and the stories of cross-cultural connection it recounts, paying tribute to the history and journey that have led to this point.
With the past on full display in this heavily researched and exciting book, you will find dishes from the Golden Age of Islam: like Narjissiya (a fava bean and egg hash) and Makmoora (a layered chicken, onion, and pine nut pot pie), as well as contemporary and globally inspired interpretations: like Tahini Cheesecake and Caramelized Butternut Squash Fatteh with Za'atar, revealing a cuisine that is vibrant, nourishing, and exciting, but above all, reminding us of how powerful food is in defining the relationship between people, place, and identity
As we explored this book we became more and more impressed by it. The stories woven into each recipe, the culinary philosophy behind Reem's narratives, the questions that each page couples with the cooking methods and ingredients were only the beginning. Different from books such as The Turkish Cookbook or The Lebanese Cookbook, The Arabesque Table not only show us recipes from the past but also shows us Reem's inspirations from various culinary traditions that will push us all beyond what we recognize as Arab food.
Just like its namesake, this book weaves recipes and stories of past and present to tell a tale of culinary evolution as old as cuisine itself. No cuisine is a straight line stretching infinitely back in time, rather, it is just like an arabesque pattern, flowing and intertwined. As Reem says in the book "So I urge you to approach this book in that same spirit, keeping in mind the porous nature of cuisine and the wealth that comes from culinary diffusion, but only so long as we respect the historic origins of our food and their contribution to our cuisines today."
The Arabesque Table is a tale that celebrates the rich pas of Arab cuisine while showcasing what it has evolved into today. It is a journey from the earliest Arabic cookbooks on record to the dishes being cooked by Arab chefs and home cooks across the region and abroad. It is meals steeped in history but reimagined for our lifestyles today.
The Arabesque Table is an ambitious compilation of historically traced, contemporary recipes that capture the ever-evolving nature of the region's cuisine, seen through the prism of a modern Arab home kitchen.