We're mightily impressed with Anissa Helou's survey of food from Islamic cultures and expect it to stand as a significant book for decades. Exploring the cooking of lands as geographically far-flung as Senegal and Tanzania, Egypt and Lebanon, Uzbekistan and the Xinjiang region of China, Helou, a native of Lebanon and the author of a range of respected books (including Sweet Middle East and Offal), links them through historical influences and common cultural practices. In some places, the influences of the great Muslim empires (Ummayad, Abbasid, Mughal, Ottoman) provide common themes; in other places, the requirements of halal and religious observation connect traditions. With chapters concentrating on ingredients or types of food that are essential of the foods of Islam—including significant ones on bread and rice—Feast is enriched by Helou's observations from years of extensive study and travel. She'll advise you that the same dough can be shaped differently to produce breads known by a variety of names from country to country, that scallion pancakes have spread from the Uighur people's table into general service throughout China and Chinese restaurants worldwide, and that it is not heresy to make Saudi camel meatballs by substituting lamb. The dishes themselves are captivating in their diversity, from celebratory Persian feast dishes to Moroccan street food to Indian sweets.
Hardcover. Remarkably handsome color photography throughout.