For home cooks, says Lorena Jones, publishing director at Chronicle, Middle Eastern food is usually “the next exploration after the adoption of Latin and Asian cuisines.”
In November, Chronicle is publishing the dessert-focused Sweet Middle East: Classic Recipes from Baklava to Fig Ice Cream by Anissa Helou. “Much of the English-speaking market has a sweet tooth,” Jones says. “This is one of the first books to marry the growing interest in Middle Eastern flavors with the persistent craving for dessert.”
Interlink will release two Syria-oriented cookbooks this season. The Aleppo Cookbook: Celebrating the Legendary Cuisine of Syria by Marlene Matar (March 2016) looks at Syria’s largest city, which was “a food capital long before New York, Paris, or Rome,” according to associate publisher Leyla Moushabeck.
“Most of the ingredients and spices used will be familiar to readers,” Moushabeck says. “But they are used in ways that will be new for many people—flavors like sweet and sour, smoky heat, fragrant spices, toasted nuts, and fresh herbs.”
And though Soup for Syria: Recipes to Celebrate Our Shared Humanity by Barbara Abdeni Massaad (Interlink, Oct.) is not a Syrian cookbook per se, profits from its sales of will go toward food relief efforts for the country’s refugees; participating chefs include Anthony Bourdain, Paula Wolfert, and Mark Bittman.
In Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking (HMH/Rux Martin, Oct.), chef Michael Solomonov (the 2011 James Beard Award winner, Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic) and Steven Cook, his business partner, offer recipes from the Philadelphia restaurant they opened in 2008. For Solomonov, born in Israel and raised in Pittsburgh, both restaurant and cookbook represent something of a homecoming. According to Rux Martin, v-p and editorial director of the eponymous imprint, “the book is equal parts cookbook and personal journey of a chef who is rediscovering and reinterpreting the food of Israel in Philadelphia.”
Other Middle Eastern titles this season include Lebanese Home Cooking: Simple, Delicious, Mostly Vegetarian Recipes from the Founder of Beirut’s Souk El Tayeb Market (Quarry Books, Oct.) by Kamal Mouzawak, who created the first farmers market in Lebanon’s capital, and Essential Turkish Cuisine by Engin Akin (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, Oct.), with 200 recipes highlighting staples such as kebabs and halva.