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The Language of Baklava

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Diana Abu-Jaber’s vibrant, humorous memoir weaves together delicious food memories that illuminate the two cultures of her childhood—American and Jordanian. Here are stories of being raised by a food-obsessed Jordanian father and tales of Lake Ontario shish kabob cookouts and goat stew feasts under Bedouin tents in the desert. These sensuously evoked repasts, complete with recipes, paint a loving and complex portrait of Diana’s impractical, displaced immigrant father who, like many an immigrant before him, cooked to remember the place he came from and to pass that connection on to his children. The Language of Baklava irresistibly invites us to sit down at the table with Diana’s family, sharing unforgettable meals that turn out to be as much about “grace, difference, faith, love” as they are about food.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 17, 2005 – Abu-Jaber's father, who periodically uprooted his American family to transplant them back in Jordan, was always cooking. Wherever the family was, certain ingredients sumac, cumin, lamb, pine nuts reminded him of the wonderful Bedouin meals of his boyhood. He might be eating "the shadow of a memory," but at least he raised his daughter with an understanding of the importance of food: how you cook and eat, and how you feed your neighbors defines who you are. So Abu-Jaber (Arabian Jazz; Crescent) tells the charming stories of her upbringing in upstate New York with occasional interludes in Jordan wrapped around some recipes for beloved Arabic dishes. She includes classics like baklava and shish kebab, but it's the homier concoctions like bread salad, or the exotically named Magical Muhammara (a delectable-sounding spread) that really impress. While Abu-Jaber's emphasis is on Arabic food, her memoir touches on universal topics. For example, she tells of a girlhood dinner at a Chinese restaurant with her very American grandmother. Thanks to some comic misunderstandings, the waiter switched her grandmother's tame order for a more authentic feast. Listening to the grandmother rant about her food-obsessed son-in-law, and watching Abu-Jaber savoring her meal, the waiter nodded knowingly at Abu-Jaber. "So you come from cooking," he said, summing her up perfectly.
The Language of Baklava
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Mar 15, 2005
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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