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First Look: Rawia Bishara's Olives, Lemons & Za'atar Book

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Photo: Paula Forbes /

Here's Olives, Lemons & Za'atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking by Rawia Bishara, the chef and proprietor of Brooklyn's Middle Eastern restaurant, Tanoreen. Dropping in a climate that's already interested in Middle Eastern cuisine thanks to Yotam Ottolenghi's recent monster hit Jerusalem, Bishara's book looks at the foods of her native Nazareth as well as the amped-up riffs that she serves at Tanoreen.

Time and again throughout the book, she mentions adding more spice, more herbs, more flavor to a dish than her mother would have. Similarly, vegetarian options are given for many recipes. On a Cauliflower and Lamb Stew, for example, Bishara notes the recipe "doesn't rely on its meat for its flavor; simply use vegetable broth, omit the meat and enjoy it just the same, ladled over fragrant basmati rice."

The book's photography is beautiful, although it does fall back on the overly-matte pages trend from a year or two ago. There also simply isn't enough of it: all cookbooks need more photography, in my opinion, but especially cookbooks that aim to transport the reader to a specific culture and its cuisine. That said, the book's simple, vegetable-heavy preparations may be enticing enough on their own without excessive photography.

Olives, Lemons & Za'atar is out now from Kyle Books (pre-order on Amazon). Check it out:









· Olives, Lemons & Za'atar [Amazon]
· All Cookbook Coverage on Eater [-E-]


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