Thursday, June 09, 2005

Contest Winners & New Book of Middle Eastern Food

Congratulations to Elissa, Joan and Alison. The answer was indeed LOVE.

"One's eating shows one's love"

I found this quote in Claudia Roden's wonderful cookbook, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food. This is a gorgeous book and if you are looking for a very comprehensive type of Middle Eastern cookbook I strongly suggest you buy it. Of course I am not the first to recommend it, it was originally published in 1972 and hailed by James Beard as "a landmark in the field of cookery".

One of the lovely features of Roden's book is that she includes quotes, fairy tales, ancient cookbook recipes, anecdotes and stories from Nasr-ed-din Khoja. For those not familiar with Khoja, these delightful fables give you a romantic version of the Middle East sadly missing these days. A scholar and a trickster Khoja's tales are funny and endearing. There are many sites that also share these tales you can find some here and here.

Here is a typical one:

A beggar knocked on the Khoja's door and said, "Allah has directed me to this house for a good meal."

"I am sorry, but you have the wrong house," replied the Khoja. Then pointing to a nearby mosque, he continued, "Allah lives over there."

Thank you to everyone who participated and for those who did not win, I am happy to announce you will have a second chance to win a copy of The Language of Baklava next week over on Bay Area Bites where there will be another contest next Wednesday. Stay tuned...