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Apricots on the Nile: A Memoir with Recipes

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  465 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Cairo, 1937: French-born Colette Rossant is waiting out World War II among her father's Egyptian-Jewish relatives. From the moment she arrives at her grandparents' belle époque mansion by the Nile, the five-year-old Colette finds companionship and comfort among the other "outsiders" in her home away from home -- the cooks and servants in the kitchen. The chef, Ahmet, lets ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 20th 2004 by Washington Square Press (first published March 30th 1999)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  465 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: foodies and arm chair travellers
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: book store cheapness and an appealing front cover
This book made me nostalgic. But mostly it made me hungry.
Apricots on the Nile combines the childhood rememberings of Colette Rossant with a series of her best and most beloved recipes. About half way through reading this I got up and made hummus, ful medames and falafel because reading about it and not being able to eat it was making me crazy. I will admit now though that I didn't take this book into the kitchen with me and follow any of Colette's recipes. I prefer to use my own tried and
Ellie Mackin
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read this book with my partner as we both love food and it was absolutely fascinating. The author writes about her childhood in gypt and the food which reminds her of it in an enchating way that transports you straight into the Cairo suburbs of the 1940s. The recipes are accurate an plenty and there is a good deal of emotional content discussing the author's family relationships and her return to Egypt with her children which make this book, although less than 200 pages, absolutely jam-packed wi ...more
It's rather difficult to review a memoir.
If this was a "normal" novel, I would complain about the main character and some decisions or reactions I couldn't understand, but since it's not I'll switch to other things that I've noticed.

First off, I would have loved for this book to be structured following a timeline. As it isn't, and some experienced are revisited at later points in the book, I had a really hard time trying to figure out how old the author was during any given experien
Karen Polak
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Atmospheric nostalgic magical pure innocence wonderfully evocative - I love this book that I picked purely by chance because I was intrigued by the title. I have always had a fascination with Egypt and Cairo, there is a mystique that will never be fathomed because of cultural differences. I read this memoir many years ago and it has stayed with me in my soul. Colette transports the reader back to her childhood and the aromas and warmth and life around her, when staying with her grandmother.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fun book with lots of history, recipes and insight into a woman’s history.

Fun to read about things I had seen I Egypt and Cairo!

Can’t wait to try some of the recipes!
Michele Brooker
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Evocative and fascinating insight into 1940's Egyptian life and food. Tempted to try some of the recipies, but probably won't get round to it.
Leslie Zampetti
Oct 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Rossant's memoir is certainly mouthwatering, and it brings 1940's Cairo alive. However, it's a little on the light side - there are several family conflicts happening and it might have beeb better to explore them more fully. Still, Rossant's work is enjoyable and intriguing - looking forward to reading her first and third books.
Mar 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cute little book with nice recipes of the typical Egyptian food you still get today and some others with a French twist. The book is more a collection of little anecdotes than a fully flung story. Fairly shallow and superficial, but still worth reading for the feel-good factor. If you like food, this is a good choice. You can see and smell those kitchens in vivid detail.
May 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is such a beautiful account of childhood spent growing up in Egypt and the incredible food and food rituals that accompanied.
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Gorgeous book. A beautiful memoir of a extraordinary upbringing, with recipes to make your mouth water!
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an evocative account of Rossant's childhood years in Egypt. We get a real sense of the place, of her extended family and their household, and above all, of the food. The narrative is interspersed with recipes, but these do not take over or intrude on the story - they do make you hungry though!
Alison Wootten
Jun 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019
Possibly 1.5 stars. Very disjointed read. The memoir jumped back and forward. Was half way through the book and realised she had a brother (did I miss that at the start?) Recipes in the middle of the chapters was distracting - write them out at the end of each chapter. For a short book, it took ages to read as it was not engaging.
Kang-Chun Cheng
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
lovely little memoir chock full of recipes... comforting to know that there are other people whose lives revolve around food...
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovely book with some really good recipes. Cairo in the 1940s for a young girl torn between her Egyptian and French heritage.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
the way the author describes each of her experience is amazing and captivating.
I could not get into the authors writing. Almost instant dislike.
Collette Rossant recounts in memoir and in recipes a snapshot of her early life. In 1937, aged five, she arrived in Cairo from Paris with her Egyptian/Jewish father and French mother. On the death of her father, her mother returned to France and Collette remained with her wealthy grandparents.

At age fifteen she was summoned to Paris to join her mother, never to see her grandparents again. Before going to Cairo, even as a very young child, she loved the Parisian kitchen, but her maternal grandmo
Michael Armijo
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very cute memoir of a book...

I found this book at a landmark bookstore on Picadilly Street in London, England. It was titled APRICOTS ON THE NILE, A Memoir With Recipes. I just realized via a search on Amazon that the title is different here in the USA. I like the English title better. This book is a 'must get' for anyone who cooks. There will be some recipes that sound "ugh", but many are mouth watering. Personally, I liked the Tomato Salad(s), Roast Chicken on a Bed of Leeks, Mea
Melissa Britto
A nostalgic memoir of Rossant's childhood in Egypt and France, sprinkled with recipes that compliment the experiences of which she reminisces. The characters are described with warmth or the opposite (namely Rossant's mother) and her connection to place and people reflected through her descriptions of her food experiences.

While I enjoyed the book I felt that opportunities for reflection were often lost or forced, leaving any connection with Rossant's character limited. I also found the non-chro
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like to read about different places and/or cook
Recommended to Therese by: book club selection

If you like food and love to cook, you may very well like this book. I'm not crazy about food and don't cook, but I enjoyed the author's story of how even though she was born in Paris, she ended up living in Cairo throughout the war and developed very fond memories of her Egyptian heritage. Needless to say she loved food, and so when she moved back to Paris, she learned even more.

It is a simple retelling of fond memories from a woman who had been basically abandoned
Samar Al-Zibdeh
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't want to reach the end of the book, it has very mixed feelings of belonging, losing identities, mixed faiths, losing loved ones and a lot of soul searching to know who you are! Simply written, I related to everything written because I used to live in Cairo so it brought many good memories there though my Cairo was the very modern one not old Cairo ! I highly recommend to read, specially if you have any interest in the Middle Eastern food, in particular Egyptian!
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this. It's a small book, which contains a lot of recipes taking up between and 1 pages each, so it makes it a quick read. Perfect for the holiday season and for curling up with a mug of hot chocolate.

The recipes add a lovely dimension to the book, and, if you're a foodie like me, you'll be keeping notes on some of them. It's really nice to read an autobiography and then have an extra context in which to place the events.

A really lovely read.
Anahide Pilibossian
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Colette Rossant's light literary style compensates her heavy and old-fashioned Egyptian and French recipes. She is not a novellist, the story is bizarrely structured with chronological loopholes and her writing style is too light, if not superficial. Her 'local impressions' have no depht at alll. The recipes were appetising but some are too old school. She hasn't really convinced me of testing them.

Overall, a nice yet disappointing tale.

Dec 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-east
Rossant is a very interesting lady, with firm roots in the Middle East (Egypte, Lebanon) and the Western World (France, Spain, US). In these memoires she warmy describes her long stay in Cairo, with her grandparents, arond the second world war. As a culinary journalist she gives ample room to the local kitchen.

William Freeman
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Quite an interesting memoir about the life of wealthy Jews in early 20th century Egypt. I had no idea that Egypt had a Jewish community so that was interesting as well as the conflicts of inter faith marriages - Jewish and Catholic no Muslims. The young went on to be a renowned cookbook writer and shares many of her favourite recipes throughout the book
May 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
I had already read "Return to Paris" prior to reading this book, which focuses on Colette Rossant's early years. I enjoyed this book very much. The only reason I gave it four stars was because it was a bit repetitive if you've already read "Return to Paris." However, if this is the first volume you read, you won't be lost wondering who the characters are.
Mary Crabtree
Rossant is/was a food writer I think for the NY Times....and she really delivers on this memoir of her childhood. Her grandparents home in Cairo and her other grandparents in Southern France lay the ground for a rich look at the food and society she was exposed to. It will inspire you to cook with your children :)
Aug 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, food
I was pleased to find this book in my library. I had a wonderful gastronomical experience when I was in Egypt this past March. The memoir was charming, and the recipes doable for an inexperienced cook such as myself.
Oct 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
It's simply a beautiful book. Rossant has this remarkable way of drawing you into her Egyptian-Jewish-Parisian-Catholic world. The recipes from her childhood just give this book another level. I love definitely gives a sense of nostalgia.
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Colette Rossant's Apricots On the Nile is an enlightening story of a foodie woman. She remembers being brought up before and during WW2, in a rich Jewish household with all her extended family in Egypt. Has recipes too. Delightful.
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Colette S. Palacci Rossant was born in Paris but spent most of her childhood in a mansion in the Garden City district of Cairo, Egypt, raised by her paternal grandparents and a host of aunts and cousins -- all of whom excelled in the kitchen. Her closest childhood friend was Ahmet, the house cook.

At the age of 15 she returned to Paris to finish her studies and lived with her maternal g