The classic cookbook that revolutionised Western attitudes to the cuisines of the Middle East
In 1968, Claudia Roden wrote her Book of Middle Eastern Food for readers who had never eaten an aubergine, let alone cooked one. Today, Middle Eastern foods are enjoying amazing popularity, largely thanks to her books.
Since the publication of her classic bestseller, Claudia Roden has continued to collect recipes and culinary wisdom from the Middle East, as a result of talking and writing to many people, tasting their food and watching them cook. The New Book of Middle Eastern Food is Claudia Roden’s ultimate collection of recipes from the subtle, spicy, varied cuisines of the Middle East, ranging from inexpensive but tasty peasant fare to elaborate banquet dishes.
Claudia Roden was born and brought up in Cairo. She finished her education in Paris and later studied art in London. Starting as a painter she was drawn to the subject of food partly through a desire to evoke a lost heritage - one of the pleasures of a happy life in Egypt. The local delight in food, like the light, colour and smells and the special brand of hospitality, warmth and humour, has left a permanent impression.
With her bestselling classic, A Book of Middle Eastern Food (1970, revised edition A New Book of Middle Eastern Food, 1985), first published in 1968, Claudia Roden revolutionised Western attitudes to the cuisines of the Middle East. Her intensely personal approach and her passionate appreciation of the dishes delighted readers, while she introduced them to a new world of foods, both exotic and wholesome. The book received great critical acclaim, and the publication of the enlarged edition was enthusiastically welcomed.
Mrs Roden has continued to write about food with a special interest in the social and historical background of cooking. In 1981 Penguin reissued Coffee, which was followed in 1982 by Picnic. Then came the BBC television series, Mediterranean Cookery with Claudia Roden, and the accompanying book, Claudia Roden's Mediterranean Cookery, a new, expanded edition of which was recently published. This was followed by The Food of Italy and then The Book of Jewish Food. In 1992, Claudia Roden won the Glenfiddich Trophy, the top prize of the Glenfiddich Awards.
The Book of Jewish Food was awarded the 1998 Jewish Quarterly/Wingate Book Prize for Non-Fiction, was the 1998 Glenfiddich Food Book of the Year and the 1997 André Simon Memorial Fund Food Book. Her 2005 book, Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon was the winner of the Winner 2005 Andre Simon Memorial Fund Book Award and Glenfiddich Food and Drink Best Food Book.