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OP: L'Art Culinaire a Travers l'Algerie

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by Z. Sekelli

Société Nationale d’Edition et de Diffusion, 1974. Hardcover. Very Good Minus. Second printing.

Written by Algerian restaurateur, chef, and TV host Zineb Sekelli (1935– ), L'Art Culinaire a Travers l'Algerie is broadly considered to be the first book on Algerian cuisine published in Algeria after the war of independence.

The book was wildly popular as an important documentation of traditional (as well as some more cosmopolitan) dishes—which had previously been only passed along orally—as well as of regional cuisines. Among them:

  • Artichoke leaves stuffed with a mixture of sardines, peas, tomato, onion, and ras el hanout
  • Stewed mutton and fennel finished with a topping of melted gruyère
  • Merguez sausage from scratch
  • Semolina cake 

Also compelling are the many and diverse regional couscous preparations, including: 

  • From Algiers with chicken, turnips, zucchini, and chickpeas
  • From Tolga with bell peppers and a heap of cilantro
  • From Béjaïa with fish, chickpeas, and saffron

While scarce in any edition, this copy carries a little extra significance, as it was acquired from the personal library of cookbook author Paula Wolfert, whose ownership stamp is on the front free endpaper. Originally published in 1973, the same year as Wolfert’s groundbreaking first book, Couscous and Other Good Food of Morocco. This is the 1974 second printing. 

Handsomely produced on sturdy stock in a textured paper over boards case without dust jacket, ours is in Very Good Minus condition with modest evidence of use and wear—most notably, chipping at the head and foot of the spine and some detached leaves. Color photographic inserts throughout. In French

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