The Arabesque Table
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Reem Kassis was an unknown in the West when Phaidon published The Palestinian Table. It has gone into three printings, selling over 17K copies, and was named a Best Book of the Year by NPR. Why now Arabesque and what does that mean?
Arabesque represents her desire to survey not only dishes from throughout the Arab world, but also how the cuisine has absorbed influences and ingredients across borders, and how it has evolved in the contemporary home kitchen. She also looks to how contemporary Arab chefs have interpreted the cuisine and traditional ingredients, though she has tested everything in her own home kitchen, making sure any home cook can make any or all of these 130 dishes.
Fans of The Palestinian Table will want The Arabesque Table because it is an all-new take, with no overlap on her first book. For those unfamiliar with her, but interested in the growing trend toward using Middle Eastern dishes and dining small dish style, they will be drawn by its beautiful design and photography, and its innovative organization, arranging dishes by the dominant ingredient or spice - there is an entire chapter devoted to recipes featuring the now trendy but ancient spice blend, za'atar.