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Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon
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Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  736 ratings  ·  60 reviews
In the 1960s Claudia Roden introduced Americans to a new world of tastes in her classic A Book of Middle Eastern Food. Now, in her enchanting new book, Arabesque, she revisits the three countries with the most exciting cuisines today—Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon. Interweaving history, stories, and her own observations, she gives us 150 of the most delectable recipes: some ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published December 18th 2008 by Knopf (first published October 27th 2005)
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Dave Riley
Claudia Roden has been my mentor for 40 years. Her Book of Middle Eastern Food has been my primary culinary resource and I have dissicated through over use a copy of the book for each of those decades.

Her other books are OK but always useful -- esp her culinary tour of Italy. This one however, fills a niche.

Roden is primarily a cultural anthropologist who deploys recipes as artefacts. To call her work 'cookbooks' is both a misnomer and to sell them short. They are studies of food in the conte
I have very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand it is quite pretty, modern-looking, a simple introduction to these 3 cuisines and there quite a few recipes in here I mean to try. On the other hand, it is so much weaker than her The New Book of Middle Eastern Food! It´s like a summary of The New Book of Middle Eastern Food for Dummies (but with prettier styling and great photos. And not only that, but Ms Roden´s conversational style here can get a bit annoying if you are one of those peop ...more
Elizabeth Theiss
Quite a nice collection of recipes from Turkish, Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisines. Our favorites are in the dessert section. The pistachio cake was worth the price of the book.
Jocelyn Zombie
I checked this out as an e-book through my library's subscription to Overdrive. I just wanted to let people know that you're missing out on the amazing illustrations and book design if you get this as an e-book. Get the hard copy!

(The text was interesting, and the receipes looked yummy. Lots of salads).

Not rating, because I didn't make any of the receipes - just wanted to warn people off of the e-edition.
I've only checked it out from the library and didn't get to cook much from it, but the Chicken with Caramelized Baby Onions and Pears is delicious! The country introductions seemed pretty thorough and interesting as well.
Such a beautiful book. I've made a few recipes from this, and mostly they've turned out well. Her method for making couscous results in the fluffiest, tastiest couscous ever.
This book provides an excellent introduction to the world of Mediterranean/ME cuisine. Roden is extremely precise in the language she has chosen to explain each recipe, yet the details are never so pedantic that they take away from the taste and texture of each ingredient. She also includes bits and pieces of information about culinary history, traditions and practices in each area. The book contains several beautiful photographs of different dishes (my mouth watered more than once while trying ...more
Matthew Gatheringwater
I picked up this book at the library for the Lebanese recipes, but I had to renew it in order to try some of the Moroccan and Turkish dishes, too. Many of these recipes are simple and quickly made and there are lots of great salads and vegetable dishes. There are some hard-to-find specialty ingredients such as sumac or preserved lemon. Substitutions are suggested but I think it is worth locating the recommended ingredients. I've started using pomegranate molasses in so many (non-Lebanese) dishes ...more
James Eckman
There's a fair number of fairly simple regional recipes in this book, some of them as noted in the text keep well so the are good singles fare. It lacks nutritional information and measures are imprecise but that's in keeping with the spirit of the book. If I see a copy of this at a used book store, I will probably buy it.
Checked this out for the Moroccan recipes and ended up copying about a dozen that sound delicious and not too difficult. Not as in-depth as Paula Wolfert's book "Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco" but very accessible.
I made three or four different recipes from this book and they were all delicious. I checked it out from the library, but am seriously considering purchasing it so I have time to make even more!
Sep 13, 2007 Hannah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: foodies...
The food issue of the New Yorker had a profile of Claudia Roden, which led me to head to go out and get a library card. I was happy to discover that Arabesque wasn't checked out. So far, I've tried two things...a tomato spread from the Morocco section and baba ganoush, which I think was in the Lebanese section. Both turned out well. I will say that I have never seen a cookbook with so many recipes that use eggplants--I just wish I'd read this earlier in the summer when there were tons of them at ...more
Chermoula marinated hake on a bed of oven roasted tomatoes and potatoes was easy and exquisite.
Roden's introductions are so evocative my mouth was watering which is not a good state to be getting in late at night!
This Cookbook is so much more than a collection of recipes, it's both a cultural and historical guide to ancient cuisines written with the unique perspective that only Roden can give.
The only thing missing were some tantalizing photos that a book like this deserves , however, I suspect that the e-version which I've picked up removes them to save on space.
I now look forward to tr
Absolutely brilliant cookbook. I've started working my way through as many of the recipes as I can...
This is my go to cookbook for Middle Eastern food. All the recipes I have tried have been very good and even excellent. Many of the recipes are illustrated with beautiful photos. Claudia Roden gives a brief introduction to each recipe including suggestions for accompaniment, something sorely missing in most cookbooks. She shows the same attention to detail in each recipe when she discusses issues such as how to correct mistakes and serving suggestions. I highly recommend this book.
Dec 17, 2007 Eileen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who cook - all levels of experience
okay, so i've only tried 1 recipe so far (roasted pepper, tomato, and apple salad)--maybe I'm jumping the gun with the 5 stars, but i ate the leftovers 3 days in a row and never tired of it (i almost never touch leftovers!). the book itself is lively - a pleasure to look at and read. (Bittman's How to Cook Everything, on the other hand, is more like a textbook.) recipes have clear explanations and seem relatively simple in execution, so it would be a great book for beginner cooks.
Claudia Roden has written another fascinating cookbook, which not only gives lovely recipes with titles listed in Arabic and English, but also tells a history of the food in each country and how it is traditionally prepared. Gorgeous photos and the print looks nice. I didn't bookmark that many recipes however simply because I have read many cookbooks on the topic, so most of them were nothing new. Recommended for food historians and those who like to cook delicious ethnic food.
I browsed through this book last night when our date night ended with a trip to Barnes & Noble and although I was intrigued by the title and the cover, I wasn't thrilled or inspired by the recipes enough to want to continue reading it (opting to put it aside and pick up some bread books that looked great) or check it out from my local library. Oh well. Maybe another time this will be more appealing for me, but for now I will leave it on the shelf and go on to other cookbooks.
Yasmine Alfouzan

I wish this had more pictures that would communicate how awesome these dishes are. I was blessed to know what each recipe looks like! Overall, it's a REALLY good cookbook with authentic recipes. I know that it is probably directed to westerns and not middle easterns, but there is no real difference between that and a local cookbook. I actually love accurate universal measurements, so I prefer this one.

Can't wait to attempt Lahma Bel Ajeen and most of the salads. :D
Jamie Felton
What I've made so far:
1. Saffron Chicken. Super easy and fast. I thought it would be difficult, but it turned out really well.
2. Phyllo Dough Stuffed With Feta. Phyllo dough sucks. I really hate it, but if you can master it, these are really good and not too hard to make. The trick is that you have to work with the dough as little as possible while also working very quickly before the dough can start to crumble.
Good recipes and introduction to each of the 3 sections. A bit disappointed in the Turkish recipe selection and would have preferred more. In general I don't like cookbooks without a photo of each recipe. Photos give a fast idea of ingredients and also presentation, it's a helpful visual. Not to have one for each option in a cookbook where some of the foods are unfamiliar is annoying.
Lady Claire, Marchioness of Fancy Pants
I enjoyed that this cookbook had recipes from three different Middle Eastern regions. It gave you a broad range of recipes to chose from. I am a beginner to Middle Eastern cooking, and I would have liked to see more photos of the finished dishes. One thing I did enjoy about the recipes in this cookbook is that they use similar ingredients in many of the recipes.
Louise Davy
Love it. Love it. Love it. Turkish food is my favourite cuisine - I first visited Turkey in 1975 and found it difficult to persuade people that it was better than Greek food - then popular because of travel and migration to Australia.

Good additional information - substitute ingredients, ancedotes - and easy to follow very straight-forward recipes.
I love this beautiful book. It is well written, both in terms of recipes and the various Middle Eastern cultures. The photographs of the completed dishes always make me hungry when I'm flipping through the chapters. Everything I've tried so far has turned out well. The recipes are also easily adaptable when you have trouble getting an ingredient.
I agree with earlier posters who love the hardcover edition. The copy I have is even more beautifilly designed than the one pictured here on GR. It inspires one to get in the kitchen and get tactile and messy. I have tried a few recipes, and have many more bookmarked ... and I'm a veggie too! Really nice book
Unequivocally one of the best recipe books I have used. All the dishes I made from this book was a hit with my partner whose origins are Mediterranean. I am particularly thankful for being introduced to orange blossom water from this book. The star dish for us was the chicken buried in vermicelli.
While I wouldn't keep this for my shelves, I would definitely borrow it from the library again. The photos alone are worth browsing the entire book. So are the bits about Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon. Found three recipes I want to try: Tomato and Rice Soup, Baba Ghanouj, and Hummus.
A good overview of the cooking of North Africa and Lebanon. There are a few countries of the area which are left out such as Libya. There are similarities in the recipes of these countries but each has it's own version of the various dishes and they can be significantly different.
Juliana Haught
Wonderful!! Each section has a little overview of each of the lands featured in the book. The recipes are easy enough to prepare with ingredients available in Western grocery stores, and so delicious! The photos are beautiful enough to make this a coffee table book.
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Claudia Roden was brought up in Cairo. She finished her education in Paris and later studied art in London. Starting as a painter she was drawn to the subject of food partly through a desire to evoke a lost heritage - one of the pleasures of a happy life in Egypt.
With her bestselling classic, A Book of Middle Eastern Food, first published in 1968, Roden revolutionized Western attitudes to the cuis
More about Claudia Roden...
The New Book of Middle Eastern Food The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York The Food of Spain Claudia Roden's the Food of Italy: Region by Region Tamarind & Saffron: Favourite Recipes from the Middle East

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