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OP: A Fistful of Lentils

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by Jennifer Abadi
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This delightful and moving collection of family recipes has, at its heart, the author’s Grandma Fritzie, who arrived in America at age 8 with family connections that stretched throughout the Middle East, but most strongly from Aleppo. Fritzie and a number of other gifted cooks in Jennifer Abadi’s family are vivid presences here as she shares their stories along with the recipes they brought with them and those they adapted for their life in the US.

Illustrated with family photos and enlivened with stories of culinary inspiration and disaster, along with cultural perspectives on ingredients, language, and holidays, A Fistful of Lentils (2002) is nearly a model of a family cookbook. Abadi, an experienced cooking instructor, provides carefully detailed recipes—many of them adapted from oral versions in which measurements and timing were never really explained: “How much? When it’s enough, you’ll know!”.

Recipe names are given in transliterated Syrian Arabic as well as English for dishes such as red lentil soup with garlic, coriander, and lemon; roasted chicken with garlic and Aleppo pepper; stuffed grape leaves with beef and dried apricots; and flourless pistachio cookies with orange blossom water.

We offer here a Fine, unused first printing. The current paperback edition, self-published by the author, contains some updated and new recipes that were not in this edition published by Harvard Common Press.

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