Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook by Tess Mallos

The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
by Tess Mallos

Hardcover, 541 pages

I'm one of those people. I like to ask people where they are from - and then I always think about the food from that region. It could be as exotic to me as Lebanon or as close as Maine, or even right downtown Toronto. My associations are always edible.

What I know about geography I mostly know from cooking. I am a kitchen traveller. (No, sorry to my H.S. geography teacher - colouring maps for 3 years didn't teach me much - except that I do still like to colour.)

I love to discover cultures and countries through food. Especially bold foods. My tastebuds are the boldest part of my entire being. Bring on the garlic! Lemon! Chilies! Herbs and spices!

I do have a few favourites: Indian, Italian, Middle-Eastern and Mexican. And, once cooking a couple of dishes from a favourite place - I long to learn it better. To really understand the concepts and flavours of that country or region.

The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook is a comprehensive course on Middle Eastern cooking and flavours, divided by region. It is big and beautiful and packed with all the information and delicious recipes you need to master Middle Eastern cooking in your own home. Originally published in 1977, it has become the go-to bible on Mid East cuisine. Prepare to wake up your tastebuds!

Contents Include:
Basics of Middle Eastern Cooking
Preparation of vegetables * Pulses or legumes * Rice * Nuts * Bread * Fillo pastry * Syrups * The food processor * Yoghurt * Sterilising jars
Syria, Lebanon, Jordan
The Gulf States
United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman

Tess Mallos - from The Sydney Morning Herald

Tess Mallos earned her place on the bookshelves of a generation of home cooks. Just a few years before her death, the food writer admitted she wasn't sure how many of her cookbooks had sold. When pressed, she nonchalantly estimated a worldwide figure about 1½ million to 2 million.

It was a mark of the woman. She wasn't overly obsessed by the exact total, nor did she brag about it. Mallos was more interested in the impact her books had. As the offspring of Greek immigrants, teaching many Australians how to cook ''foreign'' food, she could have held herself up as the poster child of immigration.

Instead, she deflected her importance by pointing out how wonderful it was that Australians were travelling in the 1960s and '70s, opening their minds to new cuisines and packing woks in their return luggage.

Mallos earned an enviable reputation with her cookbooks but, in truth, her work as a pioneering food broadcaster and slavish food historian - pushing everything from the origins of okra to the correct spelling of ''fillo'' pastry - speak more of a wider contribution to the local food industry.