Great Book of Couscous: Classic Cuisines of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia

Copeland Marks, Author
Copeland Marks, Author Dutton Books $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-55611-420-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 333 pages - 978-1-55611-524-0
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Few cookbooks have single-mindedly tackled couscous, the North African pasta that has become a stellar side dish in cafes and restaurants. Marks (Sephardic Cooking) turns his attention to the cuisines of North Africa that accompany couscous in all its guises-slow-cooked tagines, simmered charmoulas and others. Recipes from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are presented as the author found them prepared in native kitchens, without much concern for overlapping styles (there are more than two dozen recipes for kefta or meatballs simmered in sauce). North American palates may have to adjust quite a bit to accommodate the sweetness and warm spices that characterize much of Moroccan and Algerian cooking (as much as one-quarter cup of sugar in one tagine); Marks rarely compromises. To present the cuisine of the region as he found it is his goal. An indigenous ingredient such as the spiced, fermented butter known as smen, indispensable to Moroccans, is listed as an ingredient without any possible substitute for Americans. Such authenticity could daunt novices. However, Marks's research and robust writing style make the book absorbing. His preface to a recipe for jaban, a treat commonly found in the fez or street market, warns, ``This nougat is not so hard that it pulls the fillings out of your teeth, but it is a most delicious chew.'' (Nov.)
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