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Delights from the Garden of Eden

Delights from the Garden of Eden

by Nawal Nasrallah


“When reading this book, anticipate more than a taste of Iraqi food; expect a cultural immersion experience,” the author writes. If you like your recipes served with a large helping of historical context and personal stories, this collection from a leading Iraqi culinary historian and Arab-language translator will have you hungering for seconds (and thirds). An engaging, enthralling read.

from the publisher

Originally self-published by the author in 2003 Delights from the Garden of Eden became an underground bestseller and award-winner. Now fully revised and updated, this new edition, luxuriously illustrated throughout with colour photos, paintings, medieval miniatures and sketches, displays the diversity of the region s traditional culinary practices, delicious and enduring. The book contains more than 400 recipes, all tested and easy to follow, and covers all food categories with ample choice for both vegetarians and meat lovers, and many that will satisfy a sweet tooth. Ingredients and cooking techniques indigenous to the region are fully explained. Unlike the majority of cookbooks, the book uniquely traces the genesis and development of the Iraqi cuisine over the centuries, starting with the ancient Mesopotamians, through medieval times and leading to the present, aided throughout by the author s intimate native knowledge of cookery. Of particular interest are the book s numerous food-related folkloric stories, reminiscences, anecdotes, songs, poems, excerpts from narratives written by foreign visitors to the region, and cultural explications of customs, all interwoven with the recipes. The book is supplemented with detailed menus and an extended glossary to familiarize the reader with the indigenous ingredients used in creating authentic Iraqi meals. The book is a valuable addition to the shelves of specialized and general libraries and a must-have for food lovers everywhere.

"A splendid achievement, Delights from the Garden of Eden is obviously a labour of love, and the author has done readers, cooks and noncooks alike, a great service in producing such an impressive book. Each page shows erudition, every recipe a passion for food."
Times Literary Supplement, Eamonn Gearon,

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Original Publisher
Equinox Publishing
Date of publication

Features & Stories

Q&A with Iraqi food expert Nawal Nasrallah

Q&A with Iraqi food expert Nawal Nasrallah

Nawal Nasrallah is an Iraqi-born food writer, food historian, English-language scholar, and translator. She is author of ‘Delights from the Garden of Eden,’ a leading text on Iraqi food, ancient and modern. We quizzed Nawal about her research and her love of cookbooks, and about her upcoming talk at the British Library Food Season.