The Food Lovers' Cookbook Collection

Delights from the Garden of Eden by Nawal Nasrallah

Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and a History of the Iraq Cuisine by Nawal Nasrallah is a recent classic that should be a feature of every food lover's library.

The tome has the look and feel of a self-published book, but it is the content by which it should be judged. This complex book begins with fifty pages of history of Middle Eastern cuisine to place the recipes that follow into an historical and cultural context.

The historical section includes a discussion of the Abbasid era which extended from the 8th to the 13th century AD.

It also includes a discussion of cookbooks from this important era, for example the Kitab al-Tabeekh by al-Warraq - a vast tome of some 342 pages covering all aspects of the local cuisine.

The history section is followed by a forty page exploration of techniques and recipes for making various breads including a history of their emergence in the Iraqi cuisine.

The book then delves into soups, snacks, stews, rice, grains and beans, lamb and beef, poultry, fish, savoury pastries, desserts, cakes, cookies and ice cream. All recipes are treated with commendable thoroughness and clarity.

Nasrallah is to be congratulated on her efforts in compiling this exciting and useful cookbook.

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