I have a long relationship with Mediterranean cuisine, which is becoming more of an obsession as I am dealing with health issues revolving around diet. All of my research keeps bringing me back to Mediterranean cuisine as the best option. After reading Rose Water & Orange Blossoms, I am convinced that the best of Mediterranean cuisine – all those favorites we know and love, can be found in Lebanon. Most people’s perceptions of Lebanon rarely extend past what they see on the evening news, but this book quickly dispels many of those misconceptions. As a cookbook, it is stunning. The photography is amazing and will definitely make you crave everything you see. I love the arrangements of the recipes, with the ingredients list set aside in a different color, making them easy to see. Abood’s personal introductions for each recipe read much like a personal narrative – like your Lebanese grandmother handing down her cherished family recipes. They also inform readers who may not be familiar with how these recipes are meant to be used/consumed. There are a few recipes which spill onto another page, which is a personal pet peeve of mine – I don’t like having to turn pages while I cook. I don’t want to risk getting such a beautiful book dirty.
As a lesson on Lebanese culture and an introduction to Lebanese cuisine, this book is wonderful. Explanations of unfamiliar ingredients is simple and makes these ingredients seem more accessible for those of us who do not have regular access to ethnic markets. She also does an excellent job describing how these ingredients function and taste – very helpful information for people who might be reluctant to try new ingredients. Overall, I think this is a delightful book, both for those of us who are already comfortable with Mediterranean food and for those who are brand new.
If you are interested in more information about the cookbook or Lebanese cuisine – or even to purchase a few (very limited selection) specialty ingredients, check out Maureen Abood’s blog at Rose Water & Orange Blossoms. The blog posts are really fascinating, and while I am a new subscriber to her blog, I am sure I will be visiting it often. It is rapidly becoming one of my favorite food blogging sites! Enjoy!