Books of the week

Afrcan, Arabesque and Saharan cuisine explained in our round up of the best new cook books available in Dubai.

Cook books

The Soul Of A New Cuisine: A Discovery Of The Foods And Flavors Of Africa
Marcus Samuelsson, Heidi Sacko Walters and Gediyon Kifle

John Wiley & Sons, Dhs190, Amazon
For years, New York-based celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson was best known for bringing an haute spin to Scandinavian cuisine (no easy feat) at his restaurant Aquavit. But recently, the Swedish-raised and Ethiopian-born chef has taken to exploring his African roots. In Soul Of A New Cuisine, Samuelsson explores the many cuisines of Africa, from West African stews and barbequed snapper, to Kenyan curried trout with coconut-chilli sauce.

The book’s 200 plus recipes are not only inviting, but also easily approachable to the novice cook. Furthermore, Samuelsson also relates stories of his travels that make one long to embark on their own journey through the continent. The book not only acts as a stunning cookbook, but also as a breathtaking picture book, thanks to Gediyon Kifle’s beautiful photography of everyday life in a place most of us know far too little about.

Arabesque: A Taste Of Morocco, Turkey, And Lebanon
Claudia Roden

Knopf, Dhs123, Amazon
Claudia Roden won a James Beard award for her previous cookbooks, and it’s not hard to understand why. In Arabesque, she not only provides clear, step-by-step instructions on how to pull off classic Middle Eastern and North African dishes, but gives a culinary history of each region she covers. The book is organised by country, making it easier to plan a fully Moroccan meal, should that be your fancy. Isn’t it nice to know you don’t have to eat out to sample exceptional tagine, which incidentally pairs nicely with Roden’s recipe for Moroccan chickpea and lentil soup? There are also several Moroccan deserts included in the book, making it easy to conjure up a full Moroccan meal from scratch. Most of the 150-plus recipes are also accompanied with colour photographs.

Food Culture In Sub-Saharan Africa
Fran Osseo-Asare

Greenwood Press, Dhs160, Amazon
Given that so little is written about African cuisine (trust us, a search on Google yields very little), Osseo-Asare’s tome, while it isn’t for those in search of recipes, is surprisingly good at illuminating that various influences, from colonisation to famine to fast-food, on the African culinary landscape. While the book is dry in parts, it is reasonably comprehensive, providing a timeline, a handful of recipes, a glossary, and photographs to accompany the narrative.

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