October is National Cookbook Month, so naturally, we’ve been talking about cookbooks and sharing recipes from our favorite books. An informal poll of the D’Artagnan staff reflected the growing interest in Middle Eastern cuisine. Doesn’t it seem like hummus is turning up everywhere lately?
D’Artagnan staff member Chloe, who supports our New York team, chose Jerusalem: A Cookbook as her favorite cookbook.
My favorite cuisines to cook are ones from this part of the world. They include a lot of lamb, which rules.
– Chloe, Inside Sales
Jerusalem: A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi was published in late 2012 and quickly stole the collective hearts of the international food community. It won the James Beard Award for International Cooking in 2013, and made Cookbook of the Year on pretty much every book list of 2013. This New York Times article about the cookbook discusses something called “Jerusalem Fever,” which set in on New Year’s Eve, according to Julia Moskin. And it spread pretty quickly.
In Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi explore the vibrant cuisine of their home city—with its diverse Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities. Both men were born in Jerusalem in the same year—Tamimi on the Arab east side and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west. This stunning cookbook offers 120 recipes from their unique cross-cultural perspective, from inventive vegetable dishes to sweet, rich desserts. With five bustling restaurants in London and two stellar cookbooks, Ottolenghi is one of the most respected chefs in the world; in Jerusalem, he and Tamimi have collaborated to produce their most personal cookbook yet.
To read an interview with Ottolenghi and Tamimi, check out this Serious Eats article.
Closer to home, but in the same theme, is Chef Michael Solomonov’s Zahav Cookbook: A World of Israeli Cooking, which won James Beard Cookbook of the Year in 2016. The cookbook is based on the success of his Philadelphia restaurant Zahav, a client of D’Artagnan for many years.
With many of the signature recipes that made the restaurant famous, this book enjoyed accolades (see the New York Times), and inspired many cooks to whip up a plate of the creamiest hummus ever. As you can see, we have fans on our staff.
Zahav is an modern Israeli restaurant that sets the bar for Middle Eastern cuisine in Philly. His hummus is one of my favorite dishes ever, and has a cult following at his new restaurant Dizengoff in both NY and Philly.
– Josh, Category Manager
Another Book for the Shelf
Picking just one favorite cookbook? Impossible. The most recent addition to my collection is Palestine on a Plate. I’m smitten with the gorgeous photos and the variety of recipes. Lots of heart in this book, and it shows on every page.
– Lily, eCommerce
Joudie Kalla brings us Palestine on a Plate, by way of London. Released just weeks ago, this cookbook is one of only a very few on the cuisine of Palestine. Because, in part, of Ottalenghi and Tamimi’s work, Middle Eastern food is enjoying a revival, and this book fills a need to better understand the Palestinian variations. Tamimi, the Palestinian half of the partnership, commented on this book:
The food of Palestine is mouth-watering and colourful. This treasure-trove of a book shows it at its best.
– Sami Tamimi, coauthor of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Jerusalem
Joudie shares the cuisine of Palestine with love and verve, and dedicates her efforts to her mother and grandmothers before her. These women preserved their culture in every dish, every recipe they passed to Joudie. Isn’t it always the case with food?
Do you have a favorite Middle Eastern dish? Tell us about it right here in the comments, or tag us on social media. Find @dartagnanfoods on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.