The North African Cookbook Review

The North African Cookbook Review
By The Cooking World, Editorial Staff
January 10, 2024

The North African Cookbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Maghreb Cuisine

In this week's cookbook review, we travel to the African continent through the pages of The North African Cookbook.

This new book from Phaidon emerges as a groundbreaking work in the world of culinary arts. Authored by the renowned Jeff Koehler, The North African Cookbook is a masterclass in the traditional cooking of the Maghreb region, offering an unprecedented 445 recipes that will enchant home cooks and professionals alike.

The North African Cookbook

The Maghreb Region

Jeff Koehler, a James Beard award-winning writer, brings his extensive experience and passion for North African cuisine to the forefront in The North African Cookbook. His twenty years of research and exploration in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya provide a rich foundation for this comprehensive culinary guide.

From Berber, Arabic, and Ottoman influences as well as French, Spanish, and Italian, this authoritative cookbook offers a comprehensive overview of how native as well as European colonialism influences the region's traditions today.

In addition to a range of authentic recipes from across the Maghreb, the book also looks at daily life in North Africa today through the lens of its richly diverse food culture. Throughout the book, Jeff intricately weaves the history, culture, and traditions of North Africa into each recipe, offering readers a unique perspective on dishes ranging from the classic couscous and tagines to lesser-known but equally tantalizing regional specialties.

The North African Cookbook
Shakshuka. Photography by Simon Bajada (p. 151)

Diversity and Authenticity

A standout feature of The North African Cookbook is its authenticity and depth. Jeff's collaboration with a network of local experts, including chefs, home cooks, and artisans, ensures that each recipe is both authentic and diverse, reflecting the rich tapestry of influences that shape Maghreb cuisine.

A wide network of culinary voices from across North Africa guided the project over the years. In a region so vast and so diverse, Jeff looked to many hundreds of experts, with each sharing their own small piece of grand gastronomic mosaic: sardine fishermen on Morocco's Atlantic coast and Tunisian octopus fisherman off of Sfax, farmers selling sheep on the outskirts of Algiers before a key holiday and those in Tunis's covered market with foraged herbs, pastry makers in Kairouan, cheese makers in the Rif, and butchers in Oran, Algerian Berbers hand-rolling couscous, Moroccan women in a small coop pressing argan oil, men harvesting dates from the tops of towering palms, and even helping a family harvest their own saffron in Taliouine, Morocco.

The allure of The North African Cookbook extends beyond its recipes. Jeff's eloquent writing style, combined with stunning visual representations of dishes and landscapes, makes this book a feast for the senses. The vivid descriptions transport readers directly to the heart of North African culture.

The North African Cookbook
Roasted Sea Bream with Lemon and Tomato Slices. Photography by Simon
Bajada (p. 322)

Final Thoughts

Jeff Koehler's The North African Cookbook is an essential addition to the library for anyone passionate about exploring the culinary wonders of North Africa. It stands as a definitive guide to the rich and varied cuisine of the Maghreb, making it a valuable resource for anyone looking to delve into this region's gastronomic heritage.


The North African Cookbook profoundly embodies Jeff Koehler's expertise as a culinary writer and storyteller. This book is not merely a collection of recipes; it represents a journey through the rich tapestry of North African culinary history and culture, making it an essential addition to any kitchen library.









Are You Ready To Get Hungry?

Sign Up today to get into our cooking world. You will receive for free our best tips, reviews, recipes and much more...

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Check our other reviews
The Korean Cookbook

The Korean Cookbook Review

The Indonesian Table

The Indonesian Table Review

The British Cookbook

The British Cookbook Review

The Mexican Vegetarian Cookbook

The Mexican Vegetarian Cookbook Review