Our Syria: Recipes from Home
A cookbook provides recipes and visuals of how a prepared dish is supposed to look. A good cookbook goes beyond the recipes, delving either into the some of the various facets of the ingredients (their chemistry, history, etc) or the culture where the dish is typically prepared. This book excels in both aspects. The recipes are simple and nutritious, the macro photography highlights the foods’ textures, and scattered throughout the pages are stories of the women who have graciously shared their recipes as well as Syrian customs.
The book is divided into sections that correspond to Syrian classifications of a meal. It starts with a section on mezze (dips), which contains 24 recipes. Next is a section titled Brunch and Lunch (19 recipes), followed by a section titled Main Courses (28 recipes). These last two sections contain the heartiest recipes. A section titled Sweets (19 recipes) and another titled Drinks (7 recipes) add the finishing touches to a meal. There is one additional section titled Jams and Pickles (4 recipes) that ends chapters with recipes. Almost all the recipes are on a double page and contain a picture of what the fully prepared dish should look like.
I tried Hummus with Meat but changed the recipe to suit my taste. Instead of lamb, I used flank steak and skipped the nuts but added parsley and dried chili seeds (to kick up the heat). While the recipe calls for flatbread, I served it with toasted pita. There was none left, and I wish I had made more. I also tried Stuffed Dates (another easy recipe) and added crushed pistachios on top – this was also well-liked. Our Syria is an excellent book for those who like Middle Eastern cuisine and want to try making some of the dishes.
Dina Mousawi • Itab Azzam