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Mama Nazima's Jewish-Iraqi Cuisine: Jewish Iraqi Recipes

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by Rivka Goldman
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We're delighted to see this book republished. Here's what Nach Waxman had to say about it in April of 2020 when he offered a scarce hardcover copy in our out-of-print collection:

Among the ethnic communities known for their extensive migration to new homelands around the world are those of the Chinese and the Jewish people. Typically, these have established themselves in many dozens of new locations, melding elements of their cultures—food in particular—with those of their adopted homes. This fine book, almost unique, deals with one of the ways that the food of Jewish immigrants took shape in a largely Arab region, taking on a exotic character that provides much to admire.

Assembled by Rivka Goldman, who credits her mother Leah Nazima Sofaer with the contents of the book, it mixes fragments of the family’s life story—they left Iraq for Israel in 1950, when she was still a child—and the food they made and ate. That food was, of course, already heavily shaped by the varied cultural encounters of their community and that of their adopted homes during more than a thousand years of conquest, trade, and other influences.

The recipes, all provided with their original Judeo-Arabic names, are widely varied. We see a feta cheese and onion salad; a chicken soup flavored with oregano, lemon, and curry; a Passover fried matzo with garlic, ginger, and paprika; chicken with raisins and almonds; fried meat dumplings with pine nuts; baklava with a syrup of ginger, cinnamon and cardamom.

This is a nice little volume, well designed, a real treat, published in 2006 by Hippocrene, a publisher known for its adventurous specialized cookbooks (Laotian, Estonian, Maltese, Mongolian, Uzbek, Albanian, and nearly one hundred others—most of them now out of print).

Paperback. Black-and-white photos.

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