Claudia Roden’s ‘A Book of Middle Eastern Food’ is one of the most influential contemporary cookbooks written. This 1986 edition of Roden’s 1968 classic was updated to include a host of new recipes. Read it as history, read it as a collection of memories, read it to find out how our love affair with Middle Eastern cuisine came to be. Above all, read it for Roden’s beautiful prose – and, whatever you do, take the time to cook her gorgeous, timeless recipes.
from the publisher
In 1968, Claudia Roden wrote her Book of Middle Eastern Food for readers who had never eaten an aubergine, let alone cooked one. Today, Middle Eastern foods are enjoying amazing popularity, largely thanks to her books.
Since the publication of her classic bestseller, Claudia Roden has continued to collect recipes and culinary wisdom from the Middle East, as a result of talking and writing to many people, tasting their food and watching them cook. The New Book of Middle Eastern Food is Claudia Roden's ultimate collection of recipes from the subtle, spicy, varied cuisines of the Middle East, ranging from inexpensive but tasty peasant fare to elaborate banquet dishes.
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We have lots of Ottolenghi books in our collection and we adore and admire him as the authority on modern, meat-light Middle Eastern cookery, however we’ve longer adored Claudia Roden as a deity of cookery writing. The way she writes and cooks food is so much more about feeding the soul and understanding culture than satisfying appetite. In particular her exploration and recipe reporting on the Middle East is the best we’ve found; her books are rich, resplendent and enticing every time our hand runs along the cookbook shelf seeking inspiration.
Each generation is defined by its cook books. I grew up with these wonderful kitchen ‘mothers’ through the English-speaking world: Madhur Jaffrey, Paula Wolfert, Jane Grigson, Elizabeth David, Marcella Hazan, Diane Kennedy, Yan Kit-So, Anna Del Conte and Claudia Roden. I loved this book, it inspired me to travel, to buy a couscoussiere, to go to the Tunisian deserts, to love rosewater and olive oil and dried apricots and dates – and of course (deep bow) to cook my body weight in flourless orange and almond cake.
Writer and lllustrator
This book is based on the first of Roden’s cookbooks introducing us to Middle Eastern food, which was a revelation when it was first published. To be honest, I could have chosen any of her other cookbooks, but taking into the account that this is the most battered one of hers in my bookshelf, I take it to be the favourite.
I used this as a guide book on a trip to Morocco years ago, reading it while travelling through dusty desert towns, exploring the souks of Marrakesh and eating all the street food that I could get my hands on. An invaluable introduction to the techniques, ingredients and dishes of the Middle East.
Writer and food historian
I bought this book in Rabat, Morocco, at a small English-language bookshop run by a grumpy ex-pat Englishman. A treasure, the book came in handy because it introduced me to Morocco’s sister cuisines.
Writer and Food Consultant
Claudia writes with a beauty and joy that is unmatched. The recipes are fabulous but it's more than that -- it's a book you want to read and savour.
Writer and former chair of the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery
Enlarged version of the pioneering book that introduced the West to what is now one of our favourite cuisines.
Restaurant critic, author, columnist
The Middle East became just that little less mysterious for me as a young cook, with Claudia Roden by my side.
This gave us at least a dozen new things to do as part of our daily life: that's quite a high figure really.
Blogger at Desperate Reader
For being so readable as well as inspiring to cook from.
Coordinator for England of the Slow Food Chef Alliance and Ark of Taste
A scholarly subject, made accessible and fun to read.
Co-founder of School of Artisan Food
Food writer and cook
Owner and Founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School
Blogger, Chinese Grandma
Chef, cookbook author and television personality
Author and editor
Food writer and journalist
Group Publishing Director, Allen & Unwin/ Murdoch Books
Chef and author
Publishing Director – Illustrated Books, Penguin Random House Australia
Creative Partner at Here Design
Professional Food Lover
Lecturer in the Culinary Arts, Dublin Institute of Technology
Publisher of Appetite
Head Chef, The Eagle Farringdon
Honorary curator of the culinary collection at the Schlesinger Library
Irish chef, food stylist and best-selling author
Cookbook author and founder of Hashi Cooking
Founder and executive chef of Cafe Paradiso and author
Food writer and novelist
Food writer, former restaurateur, food educator
Author and lecturer