Jerusalem: A Cookbook

Friday, March 8, 2013
Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi

I can't believe no one but me has checked out this new cookbook by the authors of Plenty: Vibrant Recipes From London's Ottolenghi. While Plenty is also a gorgeous book, there are very few recipes in it that I'd actually make. Not so here. Jerusalem is a stunningly beautiful book in every way, from the cover and binding to the photography and movingly written prose and personal stories of the authors. Both grew up in this ancient city: Tamimi on the Muslim east side, Ottolenghi on the Jewish west. They talk about their personal food memories and the flavors of a rich and complex cuisine, the result of a city with a four thousand year history. I love Middle Eastern food, but this book goes far beyond tabbouleh and stuffed grape leaves, or even the ubiquitous hummus recipe. They admit that hummus has become a shared obsession, and relate how political and nationalistic influences created the "Hummus Wars," fought not with weapons but chickpeas, tahini, and herbs in hummus shops around the city. I've loved and eaten a great deal of hummus in my life, but none like this. The truly illuminating story and social context of hummus reveals it as far more than just some ethnic chip dip. Now I am obsessed too. Read the book for the whole fascinating story, and for the luscious variety of recipes. Many are vegetarian, others feature lamb, fish or chicken. There are so many I want to make that I can't decide where to begin. Maybe...hummus? Come on, check this book out. You know you want to. Check Our Catalog!

Laura P., Circulation

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