Fine Print

The Lebanese Kitchen

November 20, 2012


The cookbook shelves are crowded with bibles devoted to intense dissections of various regional cooking styles (Italian, French, American etc). But until this month’s release of The Lebanese Kitchen (Phaidon), that corner of the Middle East was one still ripe for further exploration. The able guide on the book’s thorough culinary journey through Lebanese cuisine? Salma Hage, a housewife and home cook from North Lebanon’s Qadisha Valley with more than 50 years of stove-side experience so she definitely knows her way around the kitchen. The book itself is a gorgeous tome scattered with serene images of the Lebanese streets and countryside and featuring over 500 recipes, both familiar (tabbouli, falafel, shawarma), and less so (chicken hashweh, kibbeh). And plenty of unexpected takes on time-honored ingredients: halloumi cheese shows up atop mini flatbread alongside avocado slices and a parsley salad. Because Hage is a homecook, the recipes are extraordinarily easy to follow, a boon for those who are extreme novices to Middle Eastern cookery. While we’ve dog-eared dozens of pages we can’t wait to attempt, the recipe we’re most excited about may be the simplest one in the book: hummus. FIORELLA V.


Photo by Toby Glanville


Apricots in pomegranate syrup, Photo by Toby Glanville

Lamb Kibbeh, Photo by Toby Glanville

Shish barak, Photo by Toby Glanville

Mezze and other dishes, Photo by Toby Glanville


TAGS: cookbook, home cook, hummus, lebanese, middle eastern, recipes,