The highlight: Turkish layered cheese pie, a crispy-soft-salty-cheesy fillo dish, unbearably delicious, which I cut into diamonds and served as an appetizer. Followed by tagine, about which I have nothing new to say so will say nothing.
I made 52 recipes out of Arabesque over the last month.
Worth the Price of the Book: 6
Flat-out bad: 3
A terrific cookbook, but I have a gripe.
Claudia Roden first became famous for her encyclopedic 1968 Book of Middle Eastern Food, which was reissued a few years ago. A few minutes of cross-referencing reveals that a lot of my favorite recipes from Arabesque previously appeared in that first book. The lamb tagine with dates, gum mastic ice cream, chickpeas with turmeric, spicy shrimp, harira. Granted there are new recipes and some minor revisions of old ones -- but enough to justify buying Arabesque if you already have the Book of Middle Eastern Food?
Short answer: No.