cover image Sumac: Recipes and Stories from Syria

Sumac: Recipes and Stories from Syria

Anas Atassi. Interlink, $35 (248p) ISBN 978-1-62371-897-8

Atassi debuts with an inspired collection of traditional and contemporary recipes from his homeland, dishes he hopes can help build a bridge between Syrian culture and the rest of the world. Drawing from his family history and the meals he ate growing up, Atassi shares recipes that accompanied seminal moments from his youth, like from-scratch beef sausage with garlic and pistachios (his childhood version was canned) and the foul mudammas his grandmother would make. Recipes are loosely organized by time of day, with, for instance, chickpeas in a yogurt tahini sauce to start the day, filo rolls with cheese filling for an afternoon bite, and chicken kofta kebabs and a salad with watermelon, halloumi, and mint for dinner. The recipes are accessible even for less experienced cooks, and with few exceptions, the ingredients should be easy to source at most grocery stores. A handy section on setting up a Syrian pantry and a collection of recipes for frequently used condiments and sauces will acquaint home cooks with the basics, and the author’s inviting tone and balance of instruction and reflection amp up appeal. Those with an interest in Syrian cuisine couldn’t hope for a better starting point. (Apr.)